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Home > Tulip Poplar Tree
Liriodendron tulipifera — known as the tulip tree, American tulip tree, tuliptree, tulip poplar, whitewood, fiddle-tree, and yellow poplar — is the Western Hemisphere representative of the two-species genus Liriodendron, and the tallest eastern hardwood. It is native to eastern North America from Southern Ontario and Illinois eastward across southern New England and south to central Florida and Louisiana. It can grow to more than 50 m (165 feet) in virgin cove forests of the Appalachian Mountains, often with no limbs until it reaches 25–30 m (80–100 feet) in height, making it a very valuable timber tree. It is fast-growing, without the common problems of weak wood strength and short lifespan often seen in fast-growing species. April marks the start of the flowering period in the southern USA (except as noted below); trees at the northern limit of cultivation begin to flower in June. The flowers are pale green or yellow (rarely white), with an orange band on the tepals; they yield large quantities of nectar. The tulip tree is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The tulip tree is one of the largest of the native trees of the eastern United States, known to reach the height of 190 feet (58 m), with a trunk 10 feet (3 m) in diameter; its ordinary height is 70 feet (21 m) to 100 feet (30 m). It prefers deep, rich, and rather moist soil; it is common, though not abundant, nor is it solitary. Its roots are fleshy. Growth is fairly rapid, and the typical form of its head is conical.

The bark is brown, and furrowed. The branchlets are smooth, and lustrous, initially reddish, maturing to dark gray, and finally brown. Aromatic and bitter. The wood is light yellow to brown, and the sapwood creamy white; light, soft, brittle, close, straight-grained. Sp. gr., 0.4230; weight of cu. ft., 26.36 lbs.