Tulip Tree : Overview

Full Tulip Tree

Full Tulip Tree


By Emily Mandirola

The Liriodendron tulipifera is a tree known by a multitude of names.  It is often called a Tulip Poplar because of how light the wood is, similar to that of a poplar, though it is not actually a poplar.  The tree also is known by the name Canoewood from the Cherokee Indians, but this tree is most commonly known as the Tulip Tree.  It is the tallest hardwood tree in North America as well as one of the fastest growing trees.  The Tulip Tree can grow to around one hundred eighty feet and in maturity the trunk reaches a diameter of approximately six feet.  These trees are from the family Magnoliaceae and grow in temperate deciduous forest, mainly at low altitudes.  The Tulip Tree grows best in places near rivers and in loamy soil.  The range of this tree is from eastern United States to the Great Lakes all the way to northern Florida. 

This stately tree serves not only as an aesthetic pleasure, especially in Southern United States, but it is also extremely sought after for its valuable wood.  You’ve never seen a Tulip Tree before?  Well there’s a good chance that if your house is made of wood or you have wooden cabinets in your home on the East Coast, that the wood came from the Tulip Tree.  These trees are very abundant, making the wood inexpensive and popular in the lumber market.  Oh, and you can thank the Tulip Tree for helping to ship your latest order on Amazon.  Wood from the Tulip Tree is also commonly used in commercial packaging and crates.  So maybe you’ve never seen a Tulip Tree in its full glory, but you already depend on it for its many versatile uses. Hopefully after this you’ll be able to identify the Tulip Tree and its beautiful flowers!