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Native or Introduced to Illinois: native
Natural Habit in Illinois: rich woodlands; ravines
Leaf: The leaves are tulip-shaped, alternate, and simple. The leaf is smooth on both surfaces, dark green and lustrous above, pale and often with a slight whitish bloom beneath.
Flower: Tulip poplar produces tulip-shaped, light greenish-yellow flowers from April to June.
Fruit: It is a prolific seed bearer but has a low percent germination. The cone shaped fruit clusters usually persist on branches. There are about 12,000 seeds per pound.
Twig: Twigs are moderately stout, olive-brown, to reddish brown, very smooth and usually lustrous; the large terminal bud has two large duck-bill shaped scales.
Bark: The bark on younger trunks and branches is quite smooth, light ashy-gray with very shallow, longitudinal, whitish furrows. With age the bark becomes very thick, having deep interlacing furrows and rather narrow rounded ridges.
Size/Form/Shape: In a stand, this tree is very straight with a limb-free bowl. Open-grown trees have a pyramidal crown when young, becoming oval in shape.
Tulip poplar makes a desirable street, shade, or ornamental tree but the large size it attains makes it unsuited for many sites. Its good points for aesthetic use are: (1) rapid growth (2) pyramidal form (3) resistance to insect and disease damage (4) unusual leaves and attractive flowers, and (5) yellow autumnal color.
This species has some
wildlife value. The fruits provide
food for squirrels in the late fall and winter months, and the white-tailed deer
often browse on the twigs.
Tulip poplar is planted for reforestation purposes because of its rapid growth and the commercial importance of its wood, and is often planted as an ornamental. Tulip poplar and white pine were the largest trees in the eastern forest.
County Distribution Map for Illinois:
Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:
- Illinois Plant Information Network (ILPIN) @ http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/delaware/ilpin/ilpin.html#Background
- List of Woody Plants Native or Naturalized in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/woody.html
- Tree Species @ http://ostermiller.org/tree/species.html
- Index to Eastern/Central Trees @ http://www.arborday.org/trees/ECtreelist.html
- ISU Forestry Extension Identification of Common Trees of Iowa @ http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Pages/tree/
- Key to Leaves of Virginia Trees @ http://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/forsite/key/intro.htm
- List of Native Trees for Use Along Roadsides in Illinois @ http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/treetable.html
- The PLANTS Database @ http://plants.usda.gov/
The information below is from the National Arbor Day Foundation. This information can be viewed in the original (source) form by visiting The National Arbor Day Foundation at http://www.arborday.org.
Sun Exposure: The Tulip Tree (Yellow Poplar) does well in Full sun.
Soil Type: The Tulip Tree (Yellow Poplar) grows in deep, moist, slightly acid, well-drained loamy, sandy, clay, soils.
Moisture: It has normal moisture requirements, and can withstand some drought in humid regions only.
Growth Rate: This tree grows at a fast growth rate.
Hardiness Zones:4 - 9
The Tulip Tree (Yellow Poplar) can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map.