Tulip Poplar Liriodendron tulipifera Linnaeus    Synonyms: American Tuliptree, Canoe-wood, Fiddlewood, Tulip Tree, Tuliptree, Whitewood, Yellow Poplar.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Magnoliales   >   Family Magnoliaceae   >   Genus Liriodendron   

Status:

One of eastern North America's largest and most beautiful trees, Tulip Poplar can reach more than 20 feet in circumference at the base and up to 190 feet in height. Only American Sycamore can exceed it in girth. Tulip Poplar is native throughout most of the eastern states and is a common tree of hardwood forests across Maryland. It is a dominant species in several forest cover types, ranging from southern New England west to Michigan and south to Louisiana and northern Florida. It is also a minor component of many forest cover types and generally does not grow in pure stands, except on old fields and disturbed areas. Trees can reach 400 years in age (Simmons, 2001).

Description:

Note distinctive, four-lobed leaf shape and straight trunk. Its scientific name, tulipifera, means "tulip-bearing," in reference to the large, orange and green tulip-like flowers that appear in May. The dried remnants of the fruits remain on the branches late into winter, after releasing their winged, air-borne seeds in fall (Simmons, 2001).

Where to find:

In Maryland, Tulip Poplar occurs in rich woods, coves, and abandoned fields (Brown and Brown, 1982). Fine forests containing Tulip Poplar occur near Davidsonville in Anne Arundel County, at Belt Woods in Prince Georges County, Chapman Forest in Charles County, and near the Fall Line of the Potomac River in Montgomery County and Washington, D.C. (Simmons, 2001).

Relationships:

The seeds are eaten by squirrels and some songbirds, especially cardinals. The flowers produce large amounts of nectar, much used by bees (Brown and Brown, 1982).

Host plant for Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

Host plant for various species of moth including Tulip-tree Beauty Moth, Phyllocnistis liriodendronella, Tulip Tree Leaftier Moth, Root Collar Borer Moth, Banded Tussock Moth, Luna Moth, Tulip-tree Silk Moth, Promethea Moth and Cecropia Moth (Gilligan, Wright, & Gibson, 2008, Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants).

The midge Resseliella liriodendri causes dark centered leaf spot galls of the leaves of Tulip Poplar.

Host plant for the Tuliptree Aphid.

There are 881 records in the project database.

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A Tulip Poplar blooming in Howard Co., Maryland (5/28/2007). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

A flowering Tulip Poplar observed in Washington Co., Maryland (5/21/2011). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar blooming in Montgomery Co., Maryland (5/14/2015). Photo by Elizabeth Miller. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar after blooming, in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (7/5/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar growing in Kent Co., Maryland (5/11/2016). Photo by Dan Small. (MBP list)

Typical leaves of a Tulip Poplar observed in Worcester Co., Maryland (4/28/12). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Prince George's Co., Maryland (7/16/2016). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar blooming in Caroline Co., Maryland (5/10/2017). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

A Tulip Poplar flower in Baltimore City, Maryland (5/27/2017). Photo by Mary Scholl. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (5/14/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar buds opening, in Kent Co., Maryland (4/12/2015). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Young Tulip Poplar leaves in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/11/2017). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar leafing out in Frederick Co., Maryland (4/15/2017). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

Newly emergent Tulip Poplar leaves in Harford Co., Maryland (4/18/2018). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in bloom Howard Co., Maryland (4/27/2010). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (6/29/2012). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar, remnants of fruit, in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (2/21/2017). Photo by Tyler Bell. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Washington Co., Maryland (5/2/2020). Photo by Jim Moore. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Talbot Co., Maryland (3/26/2016). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

The bark of a Tulip Poplar found growing in Worcester Co., Maryland (4/28/2012) Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar (trunk) in Harford Co., Maryland (12/6/2015). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Trunk of a young Tulip Poplar in Baltimore Co., Maryland (9/19/2015). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar, showing typical old-age bark at base of trunk, in Montgomery Co., Maryland (2/12/2017). Photo by Bill Hill. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar bearing fruit remnants, in Prince George's Co., Maryland (11/27/2015). Photo by Dan Small. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar growing in Kent Co., Maryland (3/26/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar bearing fruit remnants, in Worcester Co., Maryland (1/2/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar bearing fruit remnants, in Montgomery Co., Maryland (12/14/2015). Photo by Mike Ostrowski. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in fruit, in Howard Co., Maryland (11/1/2016). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar growing in Calvert Co., Maryland (4/7/2019). Photo by Karyn Molines. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar bearing fruit remnants, in Talbot Co., Maryland (2/19/2017). Photo by Jared Satchell. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in bloom in Caroline Co., Maryland (5/24/2017). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Caroline Co., Maryland (4/20/2020). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar blooming in Allegany Co., Maryland (5/22/2017). Photo by Kimberly Booth. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Howard Co., Maryland (5/17/2018). Collected and processed by Helen Lowe Metzman. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar bloom in Howard Co., Maryland (5/17/2018). Collected and processed by Helen Lowe Metzman. Photo by USGS PWRC. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/27/2020). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar fruit remnant from previous year, in Howard Co., Maryland (4/30/2018). (c) stephanieoberle, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by stephanieoberle via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Tulip Poplar in Harford Co., Maryland (6/9/2019). (c) Claire Blaudeau, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Claire Blaudeau via iNaturalist. (MBP list)


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