2013

 
 

Liriodendron is a genus of two species of tree in the Magnolia family. The North American species, Liriodendron tulipifera, is commonly called Tulip poplar, while Liriodendron chinensis, native to East Asia, is often called Tulip tree.

The American Tulip poplar, also known as Yellow poplar, is a magnificent tree suitable for larger gardens, parks and woodland areas. It is perhaps the largest tree of eastern North America, which is saying quite a bit. Trees have been known to reach the height of one hundred and ninety feet, with a trunk ten feet in diameter. In cultivation, of course, an eventual seventy to one hundred feet is a more realistic height. But in the dense forests of America this tree reaches a size that may be properly called majestic. The trunk rises like a great column, tall and slender, branches symmetrical; the form, taken as whole, stateley.

The shape of the leaves is quite unique, its apex cut off at the end in a way peculiarly its own, the petioles are long, angled, and so poised that the leaves flutter attractively.

The flowers are large, brilliant, and numerous. Their color is greenish-yellow with splashes of red and orange, and their resemblance to a tulip is marked, hence the common name.

The fruit is a cone two to three inches long, made of a great number of thin narrow scales attached to a common axis. These fruit cones remain on the tree throughout winter.

This tree species is a major honey plant in the eastern United States, yielding a dark reddish, fairly strong honey which gets mixed reviews for the table but is highly esteemed by bakers.

Tulip poplar is suitable for a position in full sun or light shade and tolerates most soil types, though they will grow best in deep well-drained loam which has thick dark topsoil. They also grow better in areas sheltered from the worst winter wind and they have a low tolerance of drought.

Tulip poplar has been introduced to many temperate parts of the world from Oslo to Sydney. And there are some splendid cultivars available that can be found in better nurseries in the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.


And don't forget the other species:

Liriodendron chinense - Chinese Tulip Tree is slightly smaller growing than the American, but has larger and more narrowly waisted leaves. The young foliage in spring and early summer is chocolate-purple. Most striking.

Tulip poplar

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