Both the flowers and the leaves of a tulip tree contribute to its name, with the flowers resembling the springtime bloom and the leaves looking like a child's cutout of a tulip. The tulip tree is the tallest of the hardwood trees in the eastern United States.
The tree is a member of the magnolia family and has the scientific name Liriodendron tulipifera. The tree also goes by the name yellow poplar and tulip poplar, although it is not a true poplar.
Tulip trees reach as high as 180 to 200 feet in the tallest specimens. A 164-foot tulip tree is the biggest tree in all of Ohio as of October 2009.
Even though the tulip tree is a hardwood species, the wood is relatively soft. It is a pale olive-green in color and possesses a straight grain that makes it ideal for uses in veneer.
The most significant insect pest of the tulip tree is the aphid, which will eat the new leaves and then produce a gooey substance called honeydew that precipitates the arrival of a type of mold that blackens the foliage.
The flower of this species is showy and large, with a 2-inch diameter. The six petals are greenish-yellow on the exterior and yellowish-orange on the inside, opening up in the latter weeks of spring.
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources
tulip tree flowers, yellow poplar, hardwood tree
About this Author
John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.