Welcome Tulip Trees!

The magnificent Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), also called Tulip Poplar or Yellow Poplar, is named and noted for its tulip-shaped flowers. Tulip Trees are native to the eastern United States and are relatively fast growing, without the problem of weak wood strength and short life span typical of fast growing trees.

Tulip Trees at the Gloucester HarborWalk Butterfly Garden

The foliage of the Tulip Tree has a distinct four lobed shape, with a beautiful fluttering habit when caught in the wind. Come fall, the tree is ablaze in brilliant clear yellow. Rich in nectar, Tulip Trees are a major honey plant of the east. In our region the tree typically flowers in June. The nectar also invites songbirds Cardinal and Gold Finch, as well as Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Liriodendron tulipifera is one of only two species in the genus Liriodendron in the Magnolia Family.

Fun fact from wiki: Native Americans so habitually made their dugout canoes of its trunk that the early settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains called it Canoewood.

8 thoughts on “Welcome Tulip Trees!

  1. Another great photo of the hypogynous gynecium in the ancient magnolia family. Who can look at that without thinking that the male and female parts are all evolved from modified leaves? They just have not evolved into a single style surrounded by a few stamens.


    1. Thank you Paul and Alicia–perhaps Alicia because they are no longer widely planted in our region—unfortunately because it is such a gorgeous, hardy tree. I am hoping people will see all the beautiful natives we are planting in the Harbor Walk Gardens and then will be inspired to plant same in their gardens. Wait until fall when the foliage turns the color of sunshine!!!

      Also, if you are ever at the Arnold Arboretum, their is a stunning specimen on the lawn of the Hunnewell Building, and several mature Tulip Trees in Rockport on Rt. 127; I’ll try to find the address.


  2. Beautiful specimen’s are also at Long Hill (headquarters of The Trustees of Reservation) and Moraine Farm both in Beverly. They need protection from wind as they are rather top heavy with growth.


  3. Besides being nice to look at, these trees are still a primary source for woodworking. Relatively fine-grained, not too heavy, easily carved or machined. Liriodendron tuipifera makes up probably half the 10-15,000 board feet of wood we buy each year at my shop.


  4. Thank you so much Greg for sharing that you use the wood of Tulip Trees for building the gorgeous C.B. Fisk pipe organs!! I had read that it is the “wood of choice for use in organs” when researching my post and wondered if indeed the organs created by Fisk were built from the wood of L. tulipifera. Wonderfully relevant for Gloucester and I will pass this information along to the people who are creating the apps for the Harbor Walk historical descriptions.


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