Tulip Trees are large deciduous trees native to eastern North America. They grow up to 90 feet tall, with trunks reaching 4-6 feet in diameter.
Flowers: In spring, this tree produces cup shaped flowers. The flowers are rarely seen, as they typically appear high on the tree, after the leaves have developed.
Fruit: Cone like aggregate of samaras.
Fall Foliage: Leaves turn an attractive golden yellow in fall.
Ecological Value: Yellow-bellied sapsuckers use the phloem, and ruby-throated hummingbirds consume nectar from the flowers. Provides cover for wildlife. Has been planted in mine sites with other species as part of the reforestation process.
Cultural Uses: Native Americans made dugout canoes from Tulip Tree trunks. Wood can be used for furniture, plywood, boatbuilding, paper pulp and general lumber.
Scientific Name: The scientific names of plants are often descriptive. In this instance, Lirio is derived from the Greek word for lily, dendron from the Greek word for tree; tulipifera means “tulip-bearing.” Both the flowers and the leaves are shaped like tulips!
Fun Facts: This is the state tree of Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana.
Location at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden: Throughout the Allegheny Plateau woodlands; most common in the vicinity of Bookworm Glen. Young specimens can be seen growing along the edge of the Margaret Lawrence Simon Dogwood Meadow.