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Tulip Tree Has Unique Spring Flowers and Golden Fall Foliage

Virtues: We love Liriodendron tulipifera for its towering form filled with large, bright green foliage that turns a dazzling golden yellow in fall. In spring, high above the ground, showy cup-shaped greenish-yellow flowers bloom, resembling delicate tulip flowers.

tulip tree

Common name: tulip tree; yellow poplar; tulip poplar; tulip magnolia; whitewood

Botanical name:Liriodendron tulipifera

Flowers: In spring, clusters of tulip-shaped bright greenish-yellow flowers streaked at the base in a stunning hue of orange. Following the flashy flowers are scaly brown cone-shaped fruits bearing an abundance of winged seeds—these may persist long after all the leaves have fallen.

Foliage: Deciduous, smooth, bright green four-lobed leaves—usually 4 to 8 inches in length and width, fill the looming branches. In fall, the large, glossy leaves transform into a spectacular shade of gold.

Habit: These fast-growing, stately trees have a majestic ovate to pyramidal form—often becoming more irregular in habit with age. They typically reach 60 to 90 feet in height and 30 to 50 feet wide. Over time, Liriodendron tulipifera can grow up to 150 feet.

Season: With vibrant, deciduous foliage and beautiful blooms, yellow poplars have heaps of spring, summer and fall interest—sure to fill your garden in engrossing color.

Origin:  Species native to eastern North America.

How to grow Liriodendron tulipifera: Tulip trees are most successful when planted in moist, loamy, well-drained soils rich in organic matter. They thrive in full sun with regular watering. USDA Zones 4–9.

Image: H. Zell

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