Tulip Poplar Tree - Liriodendron tulipifera
The Tulip Poplar, also known as the tulip tree, fiddle-tree, yellow poplar, and whitewood, is a fast-growing shade tree popular throughout North America. The Tulip Tree is the largest eastern hardwood tree with a natural range from Southern Ontario and Illinois to eastern Massachusetts and south to Louisiana and Florida. The Tulip Poplar is known for its distinctive tulip-shaped light green to yellow flowers about an inch tall that give off a delightful fragrance during the spring with beautiful foliage throughout the year. Despite the name, the Tulip Poplar is not actually a poplar but a magnolia tree.
During the spring, the Tulip Tree blooms quickly, seemingly overnight transforming into the brightest tree in the neighborhood with thousands of blooms that attract birds and small wildlife. In the fall, as other trees turn brown, the Tulip Poplar leaves turn from green to a bright yellow.
The Tulip Poplar is a versatile tree that is highly resistant to insects and disease and thrives in most areas. This tree grows well in most types of soil, including wet soil, with fair drought tolerance. It prefers soil that is deep, rich, and fairly moist. It grows well in Hardiness Zones 4-9. The fiddle-tree is a rapid-growing tree that attains a mature height of 80-100 feet with a trunk diameter of up to 5 feet. The tree's mature height depends a great deal on soil conditions and sunlight; in full sun, it tends to be shorter and rounder, but it can reach up to 160 feet in the Appalachian Mountains.
When allowed to grow in open space, the Tulip Poplar typically grows a majestic cone-shaped crown that makes it a popular accent tree for a front yard. It's a popular shade, street, or ornamental tree as long as its full size is taken into consideration. The Tulip Poplar is often recommended as a shade tree in landscaping as it's shade intolerant due to its rapid growth and mature height. When grown in full sun, the tree will usually grow slower, rounder, and shorter, making it very adaptable to landscaping.