Spring is when many types of flowers bloom, and this is especially true for trees. In some cases, these flowers do not fit the mold of a person's idea of a typical flower. Trees such as the maples have odd-looking flowers that lack true petals, but they will turn into the seed-bearing samaras, shaped like helicopter blades. The birches also have spring flowers, called catkins, which resemble elaborate narrow cones. Nevertheless, many trees do possess flowers that bloom in the spring that you would easily recognize as such, like the tuliptree, American plum and the Southern magnolia.
The flowers of the yellow poplar, also known as the tuliptree, usually form high up in the top of the tree's canopy, which makes them difficult to observe from up close. This is a shame, because these are some of the most interesting flowers of any flowering tree in the United States. The tree gets its name from these blooms, as they truly do look like tulips, with the same shape but with some striking pastel colors. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the flower buds will emerge in unison with the tree's leaves, which have, oddly enough, the shape of a tulip's silhouette. As the spring wears on, the flower's six yellowish-green petals develop, forming an unusually large flower for a tree species of the Northern states. The flowers of the tuliptree are 2 inches long and 2 inches wide, but, mixed in with the leaves in the upper branches, they often escape detection.
Fruit trees produce spring flowers, with many having a very pleasant aroma such as that of apple trees. Such is not the case with the flowers of the American plum tree, a species of the rose family. Plum flowers may seem for the entire world as if they should smell as good as they look, because they have five round white petals and are quite pretty. Your nose though might not share the sentiment, as American plum flowers have a distinctive pungent odor to them. The 1-inch-wide flowers will emerge in early spring before the leaves do, so there is no problem viewing them on the branches, which in the top portion of the tree have sharp spines on them.
The large white flowers of the Southern magnolia dwarf almost all tree flowers in terms of size and are so beautiful that some states have adopted them to be their state flower. Six to 8 inches wide, these cup-shaped white flowers have at least six petals and three white sepals at their base. They bloom in parts of the South from April on into the early summer. They are fragrant as well as showy and are perfect flowers, meaning they contain both male and female parts. The Southern magnolia is an evergreen tree, possessing large oblong shiny green leaves that provide a striking background for its white blossoms.