Yellow Poplar

Commonly known as the tulip tree, this tree is native to the eastern US. Fast-growing with an ordinary height of 70 – 100’, it can reach a 190’ height with a 10’ diameter. The wood is used in organs, for interior finish of houses, siding, and coffins. It is termite resistant. Flowering begins in April. Large tulip-like flowers are yellow-green with dashes of red & orange.

Liriodendron tulipifera, commonly known as the tulip tree, American tulip tree, tuliptree, tulip poplar or yellow poplar, is the tallest eastern hardwood. It is known to reach the height of 190 feet, often with no limbs until it reaches 80–100 feet in height, with a trunk 10 feet in diameter; its ordinary height is 70 feet to 100 feet, making it a very valuable timber tree. It is fast-growing, without the common problems of weak wood strength and short lifespan often seen in fast-growing species.

The resemblance of its flowers to tulips named it the Tulip-tree. It is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The fruit is a narrow light brown cone.

The bark is brown, and furrowed. The branchlets are smooth, and lustrous, initially reddish, maturing to dark gray, and finally brown. Aromatic and bitter, the wood is light yellow to brown, and the sapwood creamy white.
The 4-lobed leaves are five to six inches long and wide and are of unusual shape. When full grown, they are bright green, smooth and shining above, paler green beneath, with downy veins. In autumn they turn a clear, bright yellow.

April marks the start of the flowering period in the southern USA. The large tulip-like flowers are pale green or yellow (rarely white), with dashes of red and orange, an inch and a half to two inches long, cup-shaped, erect, and conspicuous. They yield large quantities of nectar.

This tree species is a major honey plant in the eastern United States, yielding a dark reddish, fairly strong honey which gets mixed reviews as a table honey but is favorably regarded by bakers. Nectar is produced in the orange parts of the flowers.
Yellow Poplar

Yellow Poplar Trunk

Yellow Poplar Leaves
Liriodendron tulipifera produces a large amount of seed, which are dispersed by wind. The seeds typically travel a distance equal to 4-5 times the height of the tree, and remain viable for 4–7 years. The seeds are not one of the most important food sources for wildlife, but they are eaten by a number of birds and mammals. Native Americans so habitually made their dugout canoes of its trunk that the early settlers west of the Appalachian Mountains called it Canoewood. The soft, fine-grained wood of tulip trees is known as "poplar" (short for "yellow poplar") in the U.S., but marketed abroad as "American tulipwood" or by other names. It is very widely used where a cheap, easy-to-work and stable wood is needed.

The sapwood is usually a creamy off-white color. While the heartwood is usually pale green, it can take on streaks of red, purple, or even black, depending on the extractives content (i.e. the soil conditions where the tree was grown, etc.). It is clearly the wood of choice for use in organs, due to its ability to take a fine, smooth, precisely-cut finish and so to effectively seal against pipes and valves. It is also commonly used for siding clapboards. Used for interior finish of houses, for siding, for panels of carriages, for coffin boxes, pattern timber, and wooden ware. It has a reputation for being resistant to termites; house and barn sills were often made of tulip poplar beams.

Yellow Poplar Seeds


1. "Liriodendron Tulipifera." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Sept. 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. Retrieved from:

2. Yellow Poplar (n.d) Digital Image. Clarks Outdoor Chairs. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. Retrieved from:

3. Gibellini, P. Liriodendron tulipifera flower (2009) Digital Image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Web. 19 Sept. 2012. Retrieved from: