Liriodendron tulipifera L.

Yellow-Poplar: Full Size

Also known as Tuliptree or Tulip-Poplar.

Mature Size: Typically 90 to 110 feet in height and 2 to 3 feet in diameter, but can reach nearly 200 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter.

Form: Very long, straight trunk with a compact, pyramidal crown.

Habitat: Various moist, well-drained sites statewide, but attains best growth on deep moist soils along streams and in lower mountain coves.


Yellow-Poplar: Leaves

Alternate, simple, 4 to 6 inches long and wide, smooth edged, with usually 4 pointed lobes, the outer two lobes often flattened into a squared end; yellow fall color.


Yellow-Poplar: Flower

2 to 3 inches across, tulip-shaped, yellowish-green, marked with orange bands near the base


Yellow-Poplar: Fruit

2½ to 3 inch cone-like cluster of woody, slender, wing-like seeds, breaking up at maturity in fall, leaving a spike with a few whorls of seeds, resembling wooden flowers.


Yellow-Poplar: Bark

Light gray with shallow furrows on young trees, later becoming thick with flat- topped ridges and white furrows.


Red-brown, often appearing shiny or waxy; large scars encircling the twig at leaf nodes; buds elongated and "duck bill" shaped; twigs have a sweet, spicy odor when broken.

Values and Uses

The wood is light, soft, easily worked,with wide cream-colored sapwood and greenish-yellow heartwood. It is used for lumber, trim, veneers, flake and chip boards, plywood, core stock of furniture, paper pulp and fuel. Sprouts and buds are a major food of deer, and birds and squirrels eat the seeds. The flowers are an important nectar source for honey production. Yellow-poplar makes an impressive shade tree for large landscapes.

Did You Know?

Yellow-poplar is one of the largest and most valuable hardwood trees in the United States. Yellow-poplar stands are popular with mushroom hunters, because the prized morel mushrooms grow best under these trees.