Liriodendron tulipifera L.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: tuliptree, tulip-poplar
  • LEAVES: alternate, simple, deciduous; blades 4-6” long and broad, with 4 (-6) lobes; apex truncate or notched
  • FLOWER: perfect, superficially tulip-like, 1.5-2” across, with 6 green-yellow petals in two whorls, each petal with an orange spot
  • FRUIT: aggregate of samaras
  • TWIGS: stipule scars encircle twig (characteristic of Magnoliaceae); large, duck-billed terminal bud with 2 valvate scales
  • BARK: light gray and smooth when young; gray or light brownish gray and deeply furrowed, forming a diamond pattern, when older
  • FORM: fast growing, very large tree to 200’ tall and 3-4’ dbh; very straight clear bole
  • HABITAT: mostly in rich mesic forests; also in bayhead swamps
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: eastern US  [USGS Range map]
  • USES: high value timber, wood used for furniture, veneer, cabinets, musical instruments, toys; wood easily worked; reportedly used by Native Americans and European settlers for dugout canoes; ornamental; tonic made from inner bark mainly of roots, for rheumatism, indigestion; various other medicinal uses
  • WILDLIFE: moderate whitetail deer browse, deer eat flower petals in spring; browsed by cottontail rabbits; squirrels and birds eat fruit
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. large straight tree with gray bark that is smooth on younger trees and furrowed with diamond pattern on older trees
    2. unique leaf shape
    3. stipule scars encircling twigs
    4. yellow-green magnolia-like flowers
    5. diaphragmed pith