Plant Lore: Tulip Tree Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Walk through any well-wooded inland area in the Eastern United States and you’ll likely come across this lovely giant, the Tulip Tree, or Tulip Tree Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). The origin of its common name can be hard to spot at first, but glance up at the top of the tree and you are greeted by Hello Kitty–shaped leaves and green and orange tulip-shaped flowers

Photo by magicflute002, courtesy of iStock.

Thanks to its height (up to 150') and arrow-straight trunk, Native Americans favored this tree for carving canoes and 17th-Century European explorers prized its hardwood for making ships’ masts. When heading back to Europe, these trees not only made the voyage as seeds and specimens, but also as part of the vessel

Photo by seven75, courtesy of iStock.