Tulip Tree

Liriodendron tulipiferaDeciduous

As can be guessed by both its common and scientific names, tulip tree is named for its tulip-like, yellow-green flowers that are born at the end of branches shortly after leaf emergence each spring.

Tulip Tree in bloom.
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Where To Grow

The tree has proven to be hardy and fast growing in eastern Nebraska, with many specimens more than 70 years old and some reaching over 80 feet tall. Tulip poplar can be exacting in soil and moisture requirements. It does best on moderately moist, deep, well drained, loose textured soils; it rarely grows well in very dry or very wet situations.
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Suitable to plant east of the 100th meridian.
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Size at Maturity

Tree Height Tree Spread
50-60' 40-50'
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Tree Characteristics

Tulip tree typically flowers from April to June. The flowers, tinted with orange, also hint at the tree's classification in the magnolia family. Because they are masked by the foliage, the flowers can be difficult to see from the ground, especially on trees with no lower branches.  When viewed from above, however, the flower display can be quite dramatic. Tulip tree has very distinctive, 4-point leaves that flutter in the wind like cottonwood, thus its other common name ‘tulip poplar’.

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Wildlife Benefits

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.

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Additional Considerations

This tree does not have serious insect or disease problems. However, large aphid infestations can provide the conditions for sooty mold.

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Interesting Facts

Some refer to this tree as the Tulip poplar; however, it actually is not a poplar but a member of the magnolia family. 

Additional Images

Tulip Tree in fall
Tulip Tree