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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 60-90' (less frequently to 150’) tall with a pyramidal to broad conical habit.  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 used for furniture, plywood, boatbuilding, paper pulp and general lumber.  

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

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:
  • 'Arnold'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#pollinators#shade tree#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#larval food#native tree#yellow flowers#nectar plant#rabbit resistant#playground#host#dappled shade#cpp#low flammability#deer resistant#fire resistant
Cultivars:
  • 'Arnold'
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#pollinators#shade tree#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#larval food#native tree#yellow flowers#nectar plant#rabbit resistant#playground#host#dappled shade#cpp#low flammability#deer resistant#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Liriodendron
    Species:
    tulipifera
    Family:
    Magnoliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    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:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    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: 60 ft. 0 in. - 150 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Oval
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    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)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    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
    Fruit Description:
    The tree produces and aggregate of overlapping samaras which separate at maturity in the late fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The Yellow Poplar has cup shaped, upright, fragrant yellow flowers with an orange band at the base of each petal. Although the flowers are 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
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The Yellow poplar has alternate, simple, palmately veined, 4-lobed leaves with a smooth margin. Some leaves will turn yellow and drop during drought. The bright green leaves (to 8” across) turn golden yellow in fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Green
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Smooth
    Bark Description:
    The bark is smooth and dark green on young trees. As the tree ages, wide, white furrows that separate flat ridges develop.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Rabbits