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Tulip poplar

A large, yellow-and-orange tulip tree flower and 4-lobed leaves

Tulip poplar

Tulip tree TreeNA graphic with yellow flower and 4-pointed leaves

About the tulip tree

Tulip poplar, yellow poplar - Liriodendron tulipfera

Identification: The tulip poplar is a fast-growing member of the magnolia family, easily identified by its four-lobed leaves and large, tulip-shaped blooms opening in May and June. Blooms are green, orange and yellow in color, and turn into cone-like seed clusters. Tulip tree foliage is deep green in summer, turning gold-yellow in autumn. Stems and blooms have a spicy, magnolia-like fragrance. Bark is gray and ridged.

Height: 60-120 feet  

Preferences: Full sun to partial shade. Hardiness zones 5-9.  

Wildlife value: Tulip tree flowers are beloved by hummingbirds and other pollinators. Seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals. Deer and other mammals will browse on this tree's leaves and twigs. It is also used by wildlife for shelter and nesting.

Uses: The wood of the tulip tree was once commonly used for railroad ties and fence posts. The tulip tree is now more common as a landscape tree, valued for its shade, large blooms and golden autumn color.