Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Liriodendron tulipifera L.
Tulip tree, Tulip poplar, Yellow poplar
USDA Symbol: LITU
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
One of the tallest and most beautiful eastern hardwoods, with a long, straight trunk, a narrow crown that spreads with age, and large showy flowers resembling tulips or lilies. A tall, straight, deciduous tree, up to150 ft. tall (sometimes taller), tuliptree has a medium to narrow crown and distinctive, star-shaped foliage. The leaves are waxy and smooth, and dependably turn bright gold in fall. Showy, yellow-orange, tulip-like flowers are often missed because they are up 50 ft. or higher in the tops of trees. Cone-shaped seedheads remain after leaves have fallen.
Introduced into Europe from Virginia by the earliest colonists and grown also on the Pacific Coast. Very tall trees with massive trunks existed in the primeval forests but were cut for the valuable soft wood. Pioneers hollowed out a single log to make a long, lightweight canoe. One of the chief commercial hardwoods, Yellow Poplar is used for furniture, as well as for crates, toys, musical instruments, and pulpwood.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf:
Green Autumn Foliage:
Green Size Class:
More than 100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WV Canada: ON Native Distribution:
W. VT to s. MI & s.e IL, s. to n. FL & LA Native Habitat:
Low, rich woods; stream banks USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist Soil pH:
Acidic (pH<6.8) CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Soil Description:
Rich, moist soils. Conditions Comments:
is insect and disease free. It is intolerant of compacted soil and should not be placed in confined beds or planters near pavement. It grows very rapidly in deep, rich well-drained soils with uniform rainfall. Dry summer weather causes physiological problems. Tulip tree
drops its foliage in response to drought and is somewhat weak-wooded.
This is a favorite nesting tree
for birds and the flowers attract hummingbirds. Use Medicinal:
A pioneer species.
First Nations used the inner bark
medicinally as worming medicine, antiarthritic, cough syrup and cholera remedy. (Athenic) Conspicuous Flowers:
Birds , Butterflies , Hummingbirds Larval Host:
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
PropagationDescription: Sow seeds in fall or stratify. Germination percentages are generally quite low. Collect cuttings in summer.
Seed Collection: Collect cones from trees before they dry completely. Thoroughly air dry cone to separate samaras for storage. Drying may take 20 days. Store in sealed refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: Stratify 60-90 days at 36 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.
View Recommended Species page
Record Modified: 2012-10-13
Research By: TWC Staff