Scientific NameLiriodendron tulipifera
Other Common Names:
Tulip poplar actually is not a poplar, but a member of the magnolia family. The leaves are tulip-shaped, alternate, and simple. The leaf is smooth on both surfaces, dark green and lustrous above, pale and often with a slight whitish bloom beneath.Twigs are moderately stout, olive-brown, to reddish brown, very smooth and usually lustrous; the large terminal bud has two large duck-bill shaped scales.The bark on younger trunks and branches is quite smooth, light ashy-gray with very shallow, longitudinal, whitish furrows. With age the bark becomes very thick, having deep interlacing furrows and rather narrow rounded ridges. This tree is rapid growing, attaining heights of 80- 120 feet and a trunk diameter of 2 to 5 feet. Young trees have a pyramidal form.
Flower Seed Head
Tulip poplar produces tulip-shaped, light greenishyellow flowers from April to June. It is a prolific seed bearer but has a low percent germination. The cone shaped fruit clusters usually persist on branches. There are about 12,000 seeds per pound.
Tulip poplar is exacting in soil and moisture requirements. It does best on moderately moist, deep, well drained, loose textured soils; it rarely grows well in very dry or very wet situations. It will tolerate a pH of 4.5 to 7.5. Tulip poplar is distributed throughout the east and southeast portions of the United States.