Plant Details

Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip Poplar, Yellow Poplar, Tuliptree

Scientific Name:

Liriodendron tulipifera

Common Name:

Tulip Poplar, Yellow Poplar, Tuliptree

Plant Family

Magnoliaceae (Magnolia Family)


NC Native



Bloom Color(s):

greenish yellow with orange center

Size in Feet:

70 - 100



Soil Moisture:


Bloom Time:

April, May, June

Bloom Area:

Statewide (Mountains, Piedmont, Coast)

Habitat Description:

Common in mesic forests, cove forests in the mountains to at least 1500m in elevation, bottomland forests and swamps. Coastal Plain Tulip-tree, Southern Yellow Poplar; uncommon in blackwater swamps, streamhead pocosins in the fall-line sandhills (Weakley 2015). Common throughout NC.

State Rank:

No NC Rank Listed (*)

Global Rank:

No Global Rank listed (*)

State Status:

No NC Status Listed (*)

Federal Status:

No U.S. Status Listed (*)


The tulip tree is one of the largest of the native trees of the eastern United States, known to reach the height of 190 feet (58 m), with a trunk 10 feet (3 m) in diameter.


Despite the common names, it is closely related to Magnolias and is not in the Populus genus.


Jack Spruill, Hampstead, April 29, 2009

Branch with persistent, scaly, cone-like fruit in background of photo.

The pale brown, persistent fruits are a good identification mark in winter.


Jack Spruill, Hampstead, April 29, 2009

Note the distinctive shape of the leaf.

Bark of young tree


Bark of a mature tree

The tall, straight, light-colored trunk is a good ID mark. Older bark has flat-topped ridges and whitish valleys. The lumber is used for furniture and veneer because of its strength, porosity, and light weight.


Cary Paynter, Wilmington, Feb 2011


USDA PLANTS Database Record

Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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