Tulip Tree

Liriodendron tulipifera L.



All photographs are copyrighted and are the property of E. Brunner.

Family:  Magnoliaceae

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.

County Distribution Map for Illinois:  


Sources for the Sullivan Middle School Tree Identification Guide were obtained though the use of the following sites:

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.