tuliptree in flower


The Waterthrush Blog

You may be familiar with Liriodendron tulipifera, the “tulip-bearing lily tree” commonly called tuliptree, tulip poplar, yellow poplar, or canoetree. I never knew this tree from the beech-maple-hemlock forests of my upstate NY youth, but came to appreciate it years later as a spectacular member of humid forests in the Southeast and the central Appalachians. Why spectacular? Tuliptrees, for one, can get huge: in mature forests, specimens over 100 feet tall are common, and they might make 200 feet if left alone for long enough. The trunks on these big trees are massive as well, and they tend to be branchless for a good distance up. Their shiny green leaves are also vaguely shaped like a tulip, so the tree is easy to recognize during the growing season. They have persistent, big fruiting bodies that adorn the tree in winter, making it easy to recognize then as well. But…

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