Tulip Poplar – Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip Poplar flower
Tulip Poplar flower

This tall tree of North America is a rapid grower, attaining heights of 80 to 120 feet. In 1807 Thomas Jefferson planted a pair of these west of the house at Monticello, today they stand over 120 feet tall! It can grow as much as 10 feet per summer, making it a good choice for rapid shade production where other trees have been cleared out! Unfortunately some people find the flower litter irritating enough not to want this tree around!

The trunk is long and straight, allowing it to be used for canoe making during the Revolutionary period. The wood is relatively soft allowing it to be hallowed out easily to a thin wall. Its use for this purpose also led to the adoption of the name Canoewood tree. Although it is generally considered safe for humans, the sap or sawdust can cause allergic reactions, including dermatitis due to the presence of hydrochlorate of tulipferine, an alkaloid.

The wood of this tree was used to build furniture, for construction, interior finishes and also plywood. But the most important feature of this tree, this time of year is the scent the flowers produce. The scent of nectar draws hummingbirds, cardinals and finches making this a great wildlife attractant! Bees also find it attractive, making it one of the major honey plants in the eastern United States. The honey the bees create from this nectar is dark, reddish and fairly strong flavored.

Even white tailed deer and squirrels find this tree attractive….they feed upon the fruit and twigs in the winter lean months.

To check out how this tree was used for food, medicine and dye check out my first post about it at… https://herberowe.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/tulip-poplar-liriodendron-tulipifera/

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2 responses to this post.

  1. You’re quite right with this piece!!!

    Reply

  2. At least some bloggers can write. Thanks for this article!

    Reply

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