Tulip Tree, Liriodendron tulipfera

Liriodendron tulipifera is a large tree from the Magnoliaceae family. It is commonly referred to as the Tulip tree, American tulip tree, Tulip poplar, Fiddle-tree and Yellow poplar.

L. tulipifera is one of the largest indigenous trees in the eastern United States. It has been known to reach heights of 190 feet. Its trunk can reach up to 10 feet in diameter. Ordinarily its height reaches around 70 to 100 feet. The bark is furrowed and brown. The wood is light yellow to brown. The sapwood is creamy white. It is light, soft and straight-grained.

L. tulipifera has simple, alternate leaves. They measure 5 to 6 inches long and the same length wide. They appear heart or wedge-shaped at the base and have 4 lobes. The leaves are a smooth, shiny bright green on the upper surface and a pale green with downy veins on the under surface. In the autumn months they turn bright yellow.

The tree flowers in May. It grows a greenish-yellow, erect and cup-shaped bloom that resembles a tulip. The bud is covered by a sheath of 2 triangular bracts which fall as the blossom opens.

L. tulipifera is one of the largest and most valuable hardwood trees in the eastern United States. It is indigenous from New England and New York westward to Michigan and south to Louisiana and Florida. Its greatest area of development is in the Appalachian Mountains, where trees may eclipse 170 feet in height.

Image Caption: Flower of a Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipfera). Credit: Dcrjsr/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)