Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Yellow Poplar/Tulip Poplar
Liriodendron tulipifera

Leaves are simple, alternate and deciduous with 4-6 lobes and a square, notched apex. Young twigs are red-brown and shiny with stipular scars surrounding the twig. Buds are green to purple, smooth and shaped like a duck's bill. Bark is light gray with deep irregular grooves, as if cut with a pizza cutter, with black branch scars. Flowers are yellow with orange splotches and tulip-like. Fruit is a cone-like cluster of samaras. Form is a tall tree up to 46 m (150 ft) in height and 1.5 m (5 ft) in diameter with a straight clear bole. Yellow-poplar is found on rich, moist sites in the eastern U.S. and is intolerant of shade. The white-green-brown wood is light and used for pulpwood, furniture, framing and pallets. This tree is a nice ornamental for large spaces. The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

To view examples, click on the thumbnail below: