Tree of the Month: Tulip Tree

Scientific name: Liriodendron tulipifera

Among forest laden with maple leaves, birches and beeches, one tree really stands out thanks to its star-shaped leaves and showy flowers resembling tulips or lilies. It is the Tulip tree, the tree of the month, whose flowers often remain unseen so high in the sky in the tops of the tree at 50 feet or higher!

Tulip trees are Carolinian species. The Carolian life zone extends south to the Carolinas. Southwestern Ontario represents the northermost area of this life zone. The climate is moderated by the Great Lakes and supports plants and animals not normally found in other parts of Canada.

The Tulip tree is just lovely to look upon, with its large yellow flowers that attract birds and bees in the forest or your backyard. It is a fast growing tree that grows very tall (up to 74 metres). The leaves are 7 to 12 centimetres long, waxy and smooth, and you can depend on them turning bright gold in the fall.

Want to plant one?

You can plant Tulip trees in deep, moist soil in the full sun. If you live along a stream or swampy area, this species is a perfect match for your yard.

This species is not tolerant of the salt used in the winter, so it is best to keep this tree planted away from the road. Homeowners should also be aware that the beautiful flowers produced by this tree will cause the ground surrounding it to be littered with petals when the tree finishes blossoming – flowers falling from the sky!