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Liriodendron tulipifera

Phonetic Spelling
leer-ee-oh-DEN-dron too-lip-ih-FER-ah
Description

Liriodendron tulipifera, commonly called Tulip Tree or Yellow Poplar, is a large, stately, deciduous tree of eastern North America that typically grows 70-90' (less frequently to 150’) tall with a pyramidal to broad conical habit, and can spread from 35' to 50'.  The trunks of mature trees may reach 4-6’ in diameter, usually rising column-like with an absence of lower branches. The bark is smooth and dark green on young trees. As the tree ages, wide, white furrows that separate flat ridges develop.  Wood from the Yellow Poplar is somewhat weak and is used for furniture, plywood, boatbuilding, paper pulp and general lumber.  This tree prefers moist, well-drained soil, full sun, and slightly acidic soil (even though it is pH adaptable). To plant, it needs a large area. It can have superb fall color of yellow to golden yellow but leaves abscise prematurely. This plant has pest and disease problems.

The flowers of the Yellow poplar are followed by dry, scaly, oblong, cone-shaped brown fruits, each bearing numerous winged seeds.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves:  Fall     Bloom:  Spring     Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fall

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Scale. Large aphid infestations result in honeydew secretions on the leaves that provide the growing medium for sooty mold. Verticillium wilt, mold, mildew, and canker are possible diseasese.  Fast-growing means they are weak wooded, and susceptible to limb breakage in high winds or from ice/snow.  Shallow root systems do limit the types of plants that may be grown within the drip line.   Rabbits eat the buds and inner bark of young trees.

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Arnold'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#shade tree#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#native tree#yellow flowers#edible flowers#tree#nectar plant#rabbit resistant#playground#host#dappled shade#cpp#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#children's garden#fire resistant#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#fantz#larval host plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Arnold'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#shade tree#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#native tree#yellow flowers#edible flowers#tree#nectar plant#rabbit resistant#playground#host#dappled shade#cpp#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#children's garden#fire resistant#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#fantz#larval host plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Liriodendron
    Species:
    tulipifera
    Family:
    Magnoliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Furniture stock, veneer and pulpwood
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    Vermont west to Michigan and Ontario west to Iowa south to Texas east to Florida north up through New England.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Larval host plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. Hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and birds like cedar waxwings feed on the nectar from flowers. White-tailed deer, gray squirrels, and some songbirds eat the flowers in the spring.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire. White-tailed deer browse the foliage and twigs, but this tree is considered to be moderately deer resistant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 70 ft. 0 in. - 150 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 35 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The tree produces and aggregate of fused, cone-like samaras (2-3" long, 3/4" wide) which turn brown separate at maturity throughout the winter. Oblong aggregate of samaras
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The Yellow Poplar has cup shaped, upright, fragrant yellow flowers with 6 green to yellow petals in 2 rows with an orange center that somewhat resembles a tulip. Flowers have numerous stamens and pistils are fused. Flowers have 3 reflexed sepals. Although the flowers are 1.5-2” in length, they 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 below the tree.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The Yellow Poplar has alternate, simple, palmately veined leaves with a smooth margin. Leaves have 3 main lobes. The apical love is broad and truncated, and lateral lobes have smaller lobes near the rounded or truncated base. Has a 2-4" petiole. Some leaves will turn yellow and drop during drought. The bright green leaves (3-8” across and wide) with paler undersides turn golden yellow in fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Green
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Ridges
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth and dark green on young trees. As the tree ages, wide, orange-brown furrows that separate flat ridges develop and bark color becomes brownish-gray. Rabbits eat the inner bark of young trees.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are green to reddish brown and have distinct stipular scars circumventing nodes. Buds are oval, flattened, green to reddish-brown in color, are shaped like a duck's bill, and terminal buds are at most 1/2" long.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Fire
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems