Liriodendron Tulipifera, Tulip Tree: Tulip-Like Flowers That Bloom In June
Liriodendron tulipifera is more commonly referred to as the tulip tree, sometimes you will hear it called the yellow poplar. It is large, stately, a deciduous tree native to eastern North America that typically reaches a height of 60 to 90 feet (under ideal conditions it can reach a height of 150 feet) tall with a pyramidal to broad conical habit. Trunks of mature trees may reach 4 to 6 feet in diameter, usually rising column-like with an absence of lower branching.
The tulip tree is named for its cup-shaped, tulip-like, upright flowers that bloom in the June time frame, and are borne at branch ends. Flowers are lime green with a tangerine band at the base of each petal. Although the flowers are 2 to 3 inches in length, they can go unnoticed on large trees because the flowers appear after the leaves are fully developed. Sometimes the flowers are first noticed when the attractive petals begin to fall below the tree. Flowers are followed by dry, scaly, oblong, cone-shaped brown fruits, each bearing numerous winged seeds. Four-lobed bright green leaves (8 inches across) turn a stunning golden yellow in fall. Wood is used for furniture, plywood, boat building, paper pulp and general lumber. Native Americans made dugout canoes from tulip tree trunks.
How To Make Liriodendron Tulipifera Thrive
Tulip trees thrive in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams (will tolerate sandy sites and clay) in full sun to light or open shade; they will tolerate part shade. Liriodendron tulipifera also tolerates areas that have standing water periodically in the winter which is an unusual and useful characteristic. Once established these trees are quite drought tolerant. Little pruning is needed to maintain the form. Remove dead and broken branched or poorly formed limbs. Again the golden rule in gardening is “right plant, right place” so choose to plant in a location that provides ample space for these fast growing trees.
General Liriodendron Tulipifera Information
Diseases and Pests
There are no serious insect or disease problems for Liriodendron tulipifera. During periods of stress you should be on the watch for aphids and scale. Potential diseases in a period like this will include: verticillium wilt, mold, mildew and canker. Large aphid infestations result in honeydew secretions on the leaves that provide the growing medium for sooty mold. Trees are fast-growing and somewhat weak wooded, making them susceptible to limb breakage in high winds or from ice and snow. A shallow root system limits the types of plants that may be grown within the drip line.
This is a gorgeous, but very large shade or lawn tree, it should be used this larger landscape settings. The tulip tree is generally not recommended as a street tree.
- Family: Magnoliaceae
- Plant Type: Tree
- Foliage Type: Deciduous
- Plant Height: 40 feet to 90 feet depending on conditions
- Plant Spread: 30 feet to 50 feet depending on conditions
- Hardiness Zones: Zones 4 to 9
- Bloom Color: Lime green with orange band at petal base
- Bloom Time: May to June
- Foliage: Good fall color
- Light Exposure: Full sun to light or open shade
- Water Requirements: Drought tolerant once established
- Great Color Contrasts: Red, orange, gold
- Great Color Partners: Dark green, blue
- Maintenance: Low
- Suggested Uses: Shade tree, flowering tree
- Tolerates: Rabbits, deer, clay soil
Flicker – Tulip Tree Photos
Google – Tulip Tree Photos