18 responses to “Liriodendron tulipifera”

  1. David Tarrant

    As always another great description Tamara
    They are magnificent specimens, and even though the residents along those blocks on 10th Ave probably despise them when the drop their leaves in the Autumn
    Their bright yellow fall foliage against the dark trunks on a misty late October morning are absolutely spectacular.

  2. S Garner

    One of my favorite trees, with the added attraction of being a larval host plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

  3. Bill Barnes

    There is a hybrid between the two species , looks similar to L. chinensis except the leaves are much bigger . Have not seen it in flower so cannot comment on that .

  4. Denis

    South of the border, Liriodendron tulipifera is the state tree for both Indiana and Kentucky. It was a familiar tree of my childhood in Cincinnati, at the eastern end of their shared border.
    At some point after I learned my state trees, Kentucky changed theirs to the Tulip Tree from Gymnocladus dioicus. With its appropriate common name of Kentucky Coffee Tree, I never much understood this decision. G. dioicus is a beautiful tree, with its fern-like bipinnately compound leaves. Perhaps the legislators that made the decision envied the relative stature of the Liriodendron.
    At one point, I had specimens of both species planted on my property. We had the Liriodendron tulipifera ‘Aureomarginatum’, with its striking variegated leaves. It had its roots eaten by meadow voles.

  5. Richard Mandelbaum

    A Magnolia actually, not by genus but by family and once you know that you see it at once in the flowers – the northernmost growing Magnolia in the eastern U.S. One of my favorite trees. Although the bark is not terribly distinct I always know when I enter a bottomland grove of stately columns that I have entered among the tulip poplars.

  6. alphabetjohn

    Another nickname in Tennessee is “tulip poplar.” Beautiful tree! Thanks for all your informative write-ups.

  7. michael aman

    Thank you, Richard, for pointing out that it is a magnolia, one that is native to the Northeast.
    We have an early farm table in our kitchen that was rescued on its way to the dump and lovingly restored by some great furniture lovers. They were proud to tell me that the wood is tulip tree. The table’s wood varies from light brown to dark brown to almost green, all within the same piece. Just lovely.

  8. Anne

    I just took some photos of our drought-stricken liriodendron here in Seattle the other day. Currently hosting a ton of aphids, every stage of ladybug, and some bees.

  9. PaulSilvan

    Ladies of the Forest
    An Oaken woman never bends,
    requires enormous heat to set aflame,
    and burns for weeks.
    A Poplar woman quakes at every breeze,
    ignites like paper,
    and turns to ashes without one need released.
    A lass of Sassafras, with a touch of class,
    makes tea from boiling roots,
    oozes fragrance from folded leaves,
    and couldn’t care less about your need for heat.
    A Maple gal will be your pal,
    filling you with sugared syrup
    and crackling warmth
    while you sleep.
    Among their cousins,
    you’d think there would be dozens
    who would be just right.
    But for me,
    I love the Tulip Tree,
    the straightest, tallest tree in my Northeast,
    with handsome flowers
    who ask the honey bees to help them breed.
    A unique and ancient pedigree,
    no one burns her wood.
    Instead we heat and bend her,
    work and send her into furniture,
    in useful, helpful, lasting degrees of happiness,
    spread out among our close relations,
    for the good she gives
    lasts for generations.

  10. Suzanna

    I would love to hear one of those liberty guitars! Wonderful write-up. Thank you!

  11. Heidi Lux

    My favorite tree, the topic of my Masters thesis, and the name of our beautiful dog, Tuley, short for, of course, Liriodendron tulipifera.
    Thank you!

  12. jessica

    Oh, thank you for this wonderful post about the Tulip tree. It is probably my all-time favorite tree. I can only add my love of this stately beauty to the previous posts. It’s sometimes…not often enough, imho…planted as a street tree here, in New York City. I see it from time to time in our parks and it’s unmistakeable among the woodland trees in our local forests. I adore its quirky-shaped leaves and surprisingly beautiful and complex flowers. It is beautiful in every season. Even after it drops its golden leaves, its tall elegance creates a powerful presence. And, as a beekeeper, I appreciate it as a source of forage for our girls.
    Thank you for the info about it being a Liberty Tree. I had never heard about that, or about the guitars that were made from that last survivor.
    And, many, many thanks to Paul Silvan for posting that lovely poem. That was an unexpected treat.
    I loooooove this site.
    You made my day!

  13. Robert Roggeveen

    It is always a great thrill to see one of these trees in the woods here in CT, especially its flowers, so often so high that we see the flower only when one has fallen.

  14. Paul Clapham

    On West 37th Avenue in Vancouver, near Balaclava Street, there’s a house named “The Three Tulips” and outside it are three very distinctive street trees which I’ve always assumed were Liriodendron of some sort. They are very large so probably they were planted at the same time as the 10th Avenue trees.

  15. Jane / MulchMaid

    Thank you for this wonderful article, and especially the historic information. We enjoyed the shade and beauty of a mature L. tulipifera in our Portland, OR backyard for 19 years, then were thrilled when a neighbor planted one across the street from our new home eight years ago. We have the perfect view to watch that youngster mature for the next 19 years.

  16. Therese Romer

    Thank you for this lovely post. I wonder whether my 20-30 year-old tulip tree north of Montreal (Canada zone 5a) is the northernmost specimen for this species ? It grew spontaneously, doubtless from a seed in an annual flower-pot from a nursery where they were experimenting with propagating “tender” trees. It is trying to outgrow the maple beside which the seed accidentally fell, has flowered and fruited — and am keeping my fingers crossed.
    Love your photos and your wonderful blog.

  17. Daniel Mosquin

    Therese, it may be a northernmost specimen in eastern Canada–we’d need others to chime in. In western Canada, it is cultivated in Powell River, so that approaches 50 degrees latitude north. There may be other sites further north than that.

    1. Tony Perodeau

      Yes — in Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert and Terrace.

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