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Tulip Poplar

Scientific Name

Liriodendron tulipifera

Origin

Native of eastern North America, from Canada to central Florida.

Habitat

Frequents moist woodlands and the edges of fields, especially on down-sloped areas where water drains. Prefers moist, well drained soils that are rich in organics and slightly acidic.  

Growth Nature

The tulip poplar is the tallest growing tree in the eastern forests, growing some of the straightest trunks and reaching heights of well over 100 ft. with a spread of up to 40 ft.  Trunks can reach a diameter of over 4 ft. if allowed to grow. 

Points of Interest

  • Not a true poplar, it is actually a member of the magnolia family.

  • Its lightweight, soft wood is used in furniture and as veneer.  Also used as pulpwood.  A highly important commercially grown wood, often used for reforestation purposes due to its rapid growth.

  • Name comes from its tulip-like flowers and the shape of its leaves.

  • Attracts hummingbirds, birds, squirrels, as well as being the host plant for both spicebush and tiger swallowtail butterflies.

  • Its closest relative is the Chinese poplar.

  • Paleobotanists who study fossil plants have found extinct Liriodendron species in Europe.

  • Native Americans used poplar to treat inflammation & infections. Early settlers used it to treat jaundice, fevers, bruises, intestinal worms, and swelling.