Tulip Poplar – Liriodendron tulipifera

This is a tree I first saw as a pre-teen at Girl Scout Camp. I was fascinated with the waxy flower petals. I could pick one up and run my fingers over it all afternoon. It was kind of like a worry stone, before they became popular.

Tulip Poplar flower and leaves

The acrid inner bark, and the roots are used as a diuretic, tonic, and stimulant. A tea is used in the treatment of indigestion, dysentery, rheumatism, coughs, fevers etc. Externally, the tea is used as a wash and a poultice on wounds and boils. The root bark and the seeds have both been used to expel worms from the body

The root is used as a lemon-like flavoring in spruce beer, where it also serves to correct the bitterness of the beer. It is a major species for producing honey in the south. It produces a dark red honey with a strong flavor, favorably regarded by bakers.

The bark can produce a nice gold colored dye.  

Tulip Poplar sideview

Early pioneers hollowed out the long, straight trunks to make thin walled canoes – it was in such a canoe that Daniel Boone packed his family and belongings and left Kentucky for the Spanish Territory. Liriodendron tulipifera is the state tree of Indiana, Kentuky, and Tennessee.

Tulip Poplar flower, close-up

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