simple, 5-8" long and wide, 3 to 4 lobes with shallow
sinuses, dark green above and pale below, turns yellow in the
fall, sometimes looks like it was cut evenly at the end. Leaves
randomly orientated and flitter in the breeze like the real
poplars. Kind of shaped like a tulip.
poplar flowers are tulip like, 6 orange-greenish pedals
at the branch tip. flowers in May with greenish yellow tepals .
Fruit. The fruit is
2-3" long, ripens in September, erect cone, made of dry, flay,
winged seed cases that unfolds and drops the seed in winter.
Birds and small game eat the seeds.
Winter Buds. The
terminal buds are dark red, flattish, sometimes curved and blunt
Bark. Bark is
thick, closely furrowed, with distinct chiseled ridges. The
twigs and small branches are faintly striped, similar to a
snakebark maple only fainter.
Wood. The wood of
tulip poplar is light, 26 pcf, soft, easily worked, pale yellow,
used for boat building, wooden ware, hard to split, not durable
in contact with the ground. Also used for drawer bottoms,
veneer, shingles, pulp, firewood and furniture.
Pests. Very few
pests bother tulip poplar.
poplar has a fairly extensive range in the eastern US.
Connecticut, Pennsylvania to southern Michigan south to
Mississippi and east to Florida. In Michigan it's native range
is the southern third of the lower peninsula. My neighbor has a
20' tall tulip poplar in his front yard in West Branch,
Michigan. Not a common tree in Michigan. I recall, years ago, a
big tulip poplar in the yard of the gunsmith in Grand Ledge,
across from the high school.
Other. One of
largest tree native to the eastern US. Second in size to
sycamores in trunk diameter. Tulip poplars often have straight,
branchless trunks. Can be difficult to transplant but when
established grows like crazy. Tulip poplar are in the
magnolia family. Great lawn and shade tree but give it room.
Not related to the poplar family.