This month, our tree specialists at Glendale Civic Trees recommend Liriodendron tulipifera for its eye-catching floral displays in the summer months and arresting autumn colour.

Where does it grow?

Liriodendron tulipifera, or Tulip tree, is native to eastern regions of North America.

Why is it cultivated?

The tree is highly valued for its timber in its native America because it is fast-growing and typically has no limbs below 100 feet from ground level when the tree reaches full height. 

The wood is also easy to work with, and can be cut smoothly and precisely, making it very popular for making musical instruments, such as organs.

What conditions does it prefer?

Tulip trees prefer lime-free soil that is moist but well-drained.

What does it look like up close?

Liriodendron tulipifera is a large, deciduous tree with unusually shaped, glossy leaves that turn a soft-yellow colour with the advent of autumn.  Its bark is brown and furrowed, juxtaposed against the leaves that catch the light, lending them a vibrant green hue. 

Any distinctive features?

The tree’s most distinctive feature is its numerous flowers whose shape lend the tree it’s name.  The flowers are yellow-green with bright orange centres, and stand upright facing the sky.  They grow up to four centimetres tall. 

The flowers are abundant sources of nectar and produce a strong honey that is popular with bakers in the United States.

Interesting facts:
  • Liriodendron tulipifera is the state tree of Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana.
  • The apex of tulip tree leaves are blunt as though they’ve been cut off at the end.
  • The wood of Liriodendron tulipifera was traditionally used by the Native Americans and earlier settlers to make canoes.
  • The sapwood of Liriodendron tulipifera is usually a creamy-white colour, lending the tree one of it’s many nicknames, whitewood.
Our recommendations:

Deric Newman, sales manager at Glendale Civic Trees, says: “Liriodendron tulipifera is best grown as a feature tree in a fairly sunny spot.  It’s a relatively fast growing species, and are generally low maintenance with stunning flowers in the summer (from about 20+ years-old) and a good autumn colour, making them ideal all year round. 

Liriodendron tulipifera is also quite tolerant of pollutants, making it an ideal tree for urban planting project where space permits, and it is a beautiful addition to a parkland.” 

To find out more about the tree of the month and if it will work well in your project contact our team: 0208 950 4491 or info@civictrees.co.uk.

If you enjoyed this why not try our Tree of the Month recommendation for August.