St. Augustine campus


Tulip Poplar (Tuliptree)

Liriodendron tulipifera

The Tulip Poplar or Tuliptree was named for the yellow color of its heartwood and its attractive tulip shaped flowers. This is one of the largest and most versatile hardwood trees of the United States. It occurs in northern Florida and reaches a height of more than 100 feet and a diameter exceeding five feet. Growing with a straight central trunk like the pines, and often clear of limbs for 30 to 50 feet, it has a narrowly pyramidal crown which spreads with age. The tree has been cut for its timber and is widely planted as an ornamental and shade tree.

The very distinctive leaves are simple, alternate and deciduous. They are five to six inches in length and breadth, usually with two or four sharp-pointed lobes below the middle, and a broad, shallowly indented apex. In the North, the leaves turn bright yellow in autumn, but are less colorful here.

Beautiful, two inch-wide, greenish yellow and orange tulip-shaped flowers appear in April, unfortunately often too high in the tree to be seen. The fruits are bony, brown two-seeded samaras aggregated into a cone-like structure about two inches long. The samaras are carried away by the wind, leaving behind the central axis of the cone.

The wood is light, soft, easily worked, and pale yellow or brown, with wide cream-colored sap-wood. It is extensively cut into lumber for interior and exterior trim, veneers, furniture, and other high-grade uses.

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Tuliptree 1

Tuliptree 2

Tuliptree 3

Tulip Poplar trees were planted in Honor of our Retirees' and their years of Services:

Kim Hakala, 21 years
Maureen McKanna, 12 years

Visit our Tree Campus homepage for more information.

Tree information provided with permission of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for more information visit