Liriodendron tulipfera (Tulip Tree, Yellow Poplar)

One of the tallest hardwood trees native to the eastern United States, Tulip Trees are members of the Magnolia family. They grow rapidly, forming a strictly erect trunk with few lower branches.

Liriodendron tulipfera (Tulip Tree, Yellow Poplar)
Deciduous: yes
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Height: 18-27 meters (60-90 feet) in cultivation, to 45 meters (150 feet)
Diameter: 9-15 meter (30-50 foot) spread, trunks to 1.8 meters (6 feet) in diameter
Growth Rate: fast
Age: roughly 300 years, to 450 years old
Root System: shallow
Family: Magnoliaceae
Subspecies: ‘Aureo-maculatum’ (leaves with blotches of yellow), ‘Aureo-marginatum’ (leaves with yellow margins),
‘Fastigiatum’ (more columnar), ‘Pyramidale’ (particularly narrow growth habit),
Tolerates: herbivores (rabbit, deer), heavy/clay soils, gypsy moth infestations, air pollution
Problems (major): Tuliptree aphids may cause problems in large quantities. Verticillium wilt may be fatal if not treated
Problems (minor): aphids, scale, leaf spot, mold, mildew, canker, sooty mold, breakage (harsh winds, ice, or snow),
excessively hot conditions (in zones 8 and 9 summers)
Poisonous: no
Soil requirements: prefers moist, nutrient-rich, slightly acidic, medium/loamy, well-drained soils, tolerates heavy/clay
Air requirements: tolerant of urban conditions/air pollution
Watering requirement: moderate
Sun requirement: full sun, part-shade
Leaves: four-lobed, alternate, simple, to 20 centimeters (8 inches) in length and width, light or medium green in summer,
golden yellow in autumn
Flowers: 5 centimeters (2 inches) in length, 6 green-yellow-orange petals, tulip-like, occur after foliage develops
Flowering frequency: May-June
Fruits: dry, with “scales”, oblong, cone-like, occur in mid- to late summer, contains winged samaras dispersed via wind
Bark: strictly vertical, has vertical lines when young, becomes furrowed with age
Crown: ovular, few branches on lower portions
Seeds require stratification: yes
Monoecious/Dioecious: monoecious, perfect (bisexual flowers)
Monocot/Dicot: dicot
Notable characteristics:
Although sometimes known as “yellow poplar”, this angiosperm actually belongs to the Magnolia family.

The wood/lumber is used for making furniture, boats, pulp, and other objects. Tea made by the bark has been used
previously as a stimulant to cure certain ailments.

Sources used:

A young canopy


An upright trunk on a young tree

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.


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