Botanical Name: Liriodendron tulipifera
Common Name: Tulip Tree, Yellow Poplar, Yellow Wood, White Wood, Tulip-Poplar, Saddle Leaf, Canoe Wood, Cucumber Tree, Blue Poplar, Lynn-Tree, Saddle Tree, Hickory-Poplar
Description: Florida native, deciduous, shade tree in the Magnolia family. Usually grows 40-60′ tall x 20-30′ wide, can grow 60-100′ further East. Straight-trunked, smooth-barked tree with leaves shaped like tulips. Large-growing, good-looking tree from an overall and textural standpoint, generally a single trunk, interesting leaves and yellow fall color. Leaves have tulip-shaped outlines and turn a good clear yellow in fall. Likes sun to part sun. Deer resistant. Is both fast growing and long-lived. Doesn’t like very wet or very dry soils. Grows best in moderately moist, well drained, loose soils.
This is a only host plant for the caterpillars of the tuliptree silkmoth (Callosamia angulifera) and one of the host plants for Tiger and Spicebush swallowtail butterflies. It is an major source of nectar for honey bees, native bees, and hummingbirds. Tulip tree honey is sold as a commercial product.
The pretty flowers bloom in April and May, male and female parts in the same perfect flowers, 2 to 5″ across and cup shaped. They are green on the outside with an orange-yellow center. They face upward and are not showy from the ground but attractive close up. Fruit is a dry cone-like structure which matures in the fall September to October and contains numerous woody brown scales 2 to 3″ long, many seeds.
Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.
This plant in the 3-gallon containers is 2-4′ tall.
Plant Lore: Tulip Poplar is one of the most attractive and tallest of eastern hardwoods. May reach 300 years of age on deep, rich, well-drained soils. The wood has high commercial value because of its versatility and as a substitute for increasingly scarce softwoods in furniture and framing construction. Despite its name, it isn’t in the Poplar family, but is in the Magnolia family.
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9a