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The Tulip Tree (Or Yellow Poplar, Depending On the Season)

Trees are our oldest living organism; they have been on our earth for about 370 million years. One of the most beautiful varieties is the Tulip Tree.

two yellow and orange tulip buds sprouting from a tulip tree.

Photo: Amos Oliver Doyle

Tulip Trees produce beautiful yellow-orange flowers in the summer. In the fall, its leaves turn a buttery-yellow which gives this tree its other name, Yellow Poplar.

Appreciation For Our Trees

In winter we are grateful for the permanency of our trees as we admire their vertical contributions to the landscape. Trees are our oldest living organisms; they have been on our earth for about 370 million years.

Evergreens are especially cherished in winter while deciduous trees, though bereft of leaves, allow us to enjoy the characteristics of their trunks and branching when they are stripped bare.

The temperate regions of the world, defined as the areas 40 – 50 degrees north and south of the equator, has fewer types of trees than the tropical regions of the world. Trees growing in temperate areas get more light because they are less troubled by vines that stifle the growth of many tropical trees. Their branches and leaves can easily grow right up their trunks to their canopies.

The Tulip Tree

One of our most beautiful deciduous trees is the Tulip Tree, a native to North America from Nova Scotia to Florida. It has flowers that look like orangy-green tulips that appear in abundance on trees that are 12-15 years old creating an aspect of delayed gratification.

When the flowers, adorned with 9 petals and clusters of stamens, appear in the summer, they are spectacular as well as numerous. The summer display is followed in the fall by the handsome lobed leaves turning a buttery yellow. The tree is also known as a Yellow Poplar for this fall phenomenon.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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