What Is the Genus for a Tulip Poplar?

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The tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) serves as the state tree of Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana. Tulip trees require a moist soil and reach up to 120 feet in height.

Fun Fact

  • The tulip poplar gets its name from the tulip-shaped flowers and leaves it produces, often occurring high in the tree’s canopy. The flowers are a source of nectar for bees and hummingbirds, fruit for squirrels and food for deer.

Misconceptions

  • The tulip poplar is neither a tulip nor a poplar, but a member of the magnolia family. Tulip poplar trees are also called tulip trees or yellow poplar.

Identification

  • The tulip poplar is not a member of the poplar genus Populus, but a member of the genus Liriodendron. According to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, leirion means lily in the Greek language and dendron means tree, while tulipifera, or tulip-bearing, refers to the tulip-shaped flowers.

Features

  • Tulip trees grow mainly in the eastern United States. The fast-growing tulip poplar has a very straight trunk. The young trees have smooth bark, while older trees develop bark with deep furrows that interlace.

Considerations

  • According to the USDA, the tulip tree is remarkably free from pest and disease issues, but can experience damage from wind or ice when located in exposed areas.

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