Tulip Tree, the popular name for lirioden-dron tulipifera, a large tree of the magnolia family; one of its distinctive characters, its large and showy flowers, being recognized in its botanical and common names. The genus (named from Gr. lipiov, a lily, and Sivtipov, a tree) is exclusively American, and includes only this species. It is found from Canada to Florida, and is more abundant in parts of the west, as Michigan and southern Illinois, than at the east; with the exception of the button-wood, it is the largest of our deciduous trees, reaching the height of 140 ft., with a diameter of 8 or 9 ft. The bark on young branches is light brown and smooth, but on old trees it is much broken by longitudinal fissures. In spring the development of no tree can be studied with greater interest; as the large leaf buds open they are found to be covered by two stipules, coherent by their edges to form a sac, and beneath these the young leaf, to which they belong, will be found closely folded, and its petiole bent over; beneath this is another leaf similarly covered and packed away, and so on; as the leaf develops, the stipules increase in size, and soon fall away, leaving a scar just above the petiole.
The leaves, on long petioles, are 4 in. or more across, with two lobes near the base and two at the apex, where the leaf appears as if it had been abruptly cut off, leaving a very broad, shallow notch. The flowers are solitary and terminal; the bud is enclosed by a sheath which is pushed off as the flower opens; they consist of three long reflexed sepals, and six petals, which are arranged in two rows, to form a bell-shaped corolla, 2 in. or more long, within which are numerous stamens, surrounding a cone-like mass of pistils crowded upon a long slender axis. In fruit the pistils ripen into woody one-or two-seeded keys, which fall away from the axis.. The petals are greenish yellow, marked with orange, and have an orange spot at the base. * The bark, especially that of the root, is bitter and aromatic, and sometimes used as a stimulant tonic. The wood, often called white wood, though it becomes yellowish upon exposure, is soft and easily worked, and is put to almost as many uses as that of the white pine; it is easily bent to any required shape, which makes it useful in building circular staircases and other curved work; it is much employed in carriage building for panels, and in cabinet work, especially for drawers.
In localities where it is the most available timber, it is employed in building. The western lumbermen almost invariably call the tree poplar (" popple ") or yellow poplar; an unfortunate mis -nomer, as it has no resemblance to or botanical relationship with the poplars. The tulip tree is pleasing when young, and when full grown forms a very stately object. There are several varieties in which the leaves deviate from the usual form, and one in which they are handsomely variegated with yellow; but the markings do not hold under our hot suns. Trees transplanted from the woods, unless they are very small, do not succeed, and this has given the impression that the tree is difficult to manage. It is easily raised from seeds, and nursery trees, produced in this way and transplanted a few times, may be removed without difficulty.
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).