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Liriodendron chinense

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
leer-ee-oh-DEN-dron chi-NEN-see
Description

Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun. Tolerates part shade. May not be reliably winter hardy in the northern parts of USDA Zone 6.

Liriodendron chinense, commonly called Chinese tulip tree, is a fast-growing, columnar tree that typically grows to 50-70’ tall. It is named for its cup-shaped, tulip-like flowers (same family as magnolias) that bloom in late spring to early summer. This tree is very similar to Liriodendron tulipifera (native to eastern North America), except it is denser, slightly smaller, has smaller flowers without orange banding, has more deeply lobed leaves and is not as cold hardy. Cup-shaped flowers (to 1.5” long) are olive green with yellow at the base. Flowers begin blooming in May. Flowers can go unnoticed on large trees because the flowers appear after the leaves are fully developed. Sometimes the flowers are first noticed when the attractive petals begin to fall to the ground. Flowers are followed by dry, scaly, oblong, cone-shaped, brown fruit clusters, each bearing numerous winged seeds. Clusters disintegrate when ripe. Lobed bright green leaves turn golden yellow in fall.

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids, leaf miners, scale, mealybugs, and borers. Potential diseases include verticillium wilt, mold, powdery mildew, and canker. Large aphid infestations result in honeydew secretions on the leaves that provide the growing medium for sooty mold. Trees are fast-growing and somewhat weak wooded, making them susceptible to limb breakage in high winds or from ice/snow. Shallow root system limits the types of plants that may be grown within the drip line.

Large shade or lawn tree for large landscapes. Generally not recommended as a street tree.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#viceroy butterflies
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#larval host plant#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#viceroy butterflies
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Liriodendron
    Species:
    chinense
    Family:
    Magnoliaceae
    Wildlife Value:
    This is a larval host plant for Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) caterpillars which have two to three broods from May-September. The adult butterflies feed on decaying matter, aphid honeydew, and nectar from composite flowers.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 70 ft. 0 in. - 100 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 35 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Description:
    dry, scaly, oblong, cone-shaped, brown fruit clusters, each bearing numerous winged seeds
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Cup-shaped flowers (to 1.5” long) are olive green with yellow at the base
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    deeply lobed leaves
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators