Liriodendron tulipifera is known by the common names, Tuliptree, Tulip Magnolia, Tulip Poplar, Yellow Poplar, White Poplar, or Whitewood. It's a member of the family Magnoliaceae, the family to which the magnolia trees belong.
I’ve been fascinated by the Tulip Poplar for many years. I knew they grow on our place. In the Spring I’d sometimes see flowers that had fallen onto the path from our house to the creek, especially after a storm. The trees in the woods are probably at least 50 to 60 feet high so there was little chance that I’d be able to watch the development of flowers and seeds at our place.
Last Winter, I began to walk some of the trails in Fort Yargo State Park while the lake level was low. Along one of these trails I found a Tulip Poplar tree which had some branches that had bent and were growing down at shoulder height. I decided that I would document the development of flowers and seeds during the year on a weekly basis.
A bud (February 27th)
A bud, opening. The bud cover splits in two, longitudinally. (March 6th)
The bud cover folds back (March 14th)
Another layer of the bud folds back and the first leaf starts to unfold. This leaf is about 1/2 inch across. (March 20th)
A second leaf has unfolded a week later. (March 27th)
More leaves have grown during the next week. Each is about 3-4 inches across (April 2nd)
Another bud is exposed. The original leaves are about 6 to 8 inches across. (April 10th)
Little change occurred during the next week (April 17th)
The flowers have opened (April 23rd)
The flowers open wider (April 30th)
The flower tetals are decaying; the developing seedpod is visible (May 8th)
Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Poplar) is native to the eastern United States. Its range extends from Vermont-Connecticut west to Michigan and south to Texas. In Canada it grows only in Ontario.
To be continued...
Click on an image to view a larger image
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Poplar)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Liriodendron tulipifera
- Southeastern Flora: Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
- Native & Naturalized Plants of Georgia and the Carolinas: Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Poplar)
- Wikipedia: Liriodendron tulipifera
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower