Tulip Tree

Botanical Name: Liriodendron tulipifera

The Tulip Tree is a majestic and unique tree with unusual leaves and blooms. It has an upward and open growth habit and grows in a widely pyramidal or rounded shape. Liriodendron tulipifera is the tallest growing deciduous tree in North America, growing to a height of 60-90 feet with a spread of 30-50 feet. It is native to the eastern United States and is so popular that it is the state tree of Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee!

The leaves of the Tulip Tree are an unusual shape. They are large – 4-8 inches across – with a blunt, flat end with a notch in it and four lobes. They are a glossy mid-green in color. The fall display is a beautiful golden yellow.

After the leaves have grown in, sometime in May or June, the flowers of the Tulip Tree develop. They are bright yellow with an orange stripe at the base of each petal. They can grow to 2 inches in size and can sometimes be hidden by the leaves. The Tulip Tree is in the Magnolia family, and its flowers bear some resemblance to Cup and Saucer Magnolia flowers that stand upright on the branches.

The fruits that follow the flowers are oblong and cone-shaped with scales. Each fruit bears many winged seeds.

The Tulip Tree is rabbit and deer resistant. It is fast growing, which can mean weaker wood that is susceptible to breakage during wind and ice storms.


Height: 60-90 ft.

Width: 30-50 ft.

Shape: Broadly Pyramidal, Rounded

Flower Color: Yellow, Orange

Flowering Time: May-June

Fall Color: Bright Yellow

Features: Bright fall color, beautiful unique flowers and foliage

Exposure: Full Sun

Watering: Moderate & Regular, leaves will yellow without consistent moisture

Soil: Prefers rich, moist, well-drained loam soil, but tolerant of clay soil

Growth Rate: Fast

USDA Zones: 4-9

Uses: Shade tree, street tree, lawn tree, park tree

Similar trees: Liriodendron tulipifera 'Fastigiata' (Columnar Tulip Tree), Magnolia x 'Elizabeth' (Elizabeth Magnolia), Magnolia x 'Galaxy' (Galaxy Magnolia)