Tulip Tree

Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera
Genus: Liriodendron
Family: Magnoliaceae

IMG_0390 tulip treeIMG_0389 tulip tree“[He] proceeded to clear for us a path to the foot of an enormously tall tulip-tree, which stood, with some eight or ten oaks, upon the level, and far surpassed them all, and all other trees which I had then ever seen, in the beauty of its foliage and form, in the wide spread of its branches, and in the general majesty of its appearance.”
– Edgar Allan Poe, “The Gold-Bug”

As Poe described, the tulip tree is an impressive species that can reach up to 200 feet. Typically, it has a straight trunk, and the dark green leaves are almost square in shape. The beautiful flowers are yellow-green and shaped like tulips, but difficult to see because they blend with the foliage. The leaves seem to attract insects and large numbers of bees can be found in the foliage in the summertime (which may have been one source of inspiration for Poe’s tale). Tulip trees are native to eastern North America.