Liriodendron has just two species: Liriodendron tulipifera, native to eastern North America and today’s featured plant Liriodendron chinense, native to China and northern Vietnam.
Although the species have been geographically separated for more than 10 million years they are still interfertile. They differ very little in form, the leaves of the American species being slightly larger and the Asian species lacking the orange colour found in the flowers of Liriodendron tulipifera. Liriodendron chinense is rare and endangered in its native habitat. It is grown for timber and as an ornamental tree. The leaf shape of Liriodendron is quite distinct and the similarity of its outline to the shape of a tulip flower gives rise to the common name, tulip tree, which refers to either species.
I enjoyed photographing the leaves of this species back lit by evening sun–some lit–some shaded dark. They are in all stages of development turning each direction. A display to rival the flowers.