Tulip Tree

Scientific name: Liriodendron tulipifera

These are large, stately, deciduous trees that typically grow 60-90 ft tall and 35-50 ft wide. Known to reach up to 190 ft tall, this tree is one of the largest of the native trees of the eastern United States. This fast-growing, remarkably straight-trunked tree is also known as tulip poplar or yellow poplar. A member of the Magnolia family, it is named for its tulip-like flowers that bloom in spring. The yellow flowers have a distinctive orange band at the base of each petal and last for an extended period. The flowers are 2 inches long but can go unnoticed since they emerge after the leaves. The fruits turn brown in fall and persist into winter. The bright green leaves can grow to 8 inches wide and turn golden yellow in the fall. The bark and flowers are fragrant. The wood is used for paper pulp, plywood, general lumber, furniture, and boatbuilding. Native Americans used the trunks to make dugout canoes. Because of it’s size, it is recommended for large, open landscapes. It does best in full sun and typically grows in plant hardiness zones 4-9. There’s a huge, beautiful specimen on upper Spruce Street in Burlington (VT). Can you find it?


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