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TuliptreeLiriodendron tulipifera

  • Tuliptree - Liriodendron tulipifera
  • Tuliptree - Liriodendron tulipifera
  • Tuliptree - Liriodendron tulipifera

One can argue about whether the "tulips" are the outline of its leaves or its cup-shaped flowers. But both undoubtedly contributed to the fanciful name given to this tree by early settlers. And the tuliptree is still beloved for its beauty today, serving as the state tree of Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee. It is the tallest of the eastern hardwoods—and a rapid grower when conditions are right.

If you’re looking for a stunning tree that grows quickly and doesn’t suffer from many pest problems, your search is over.

Hardiness Zones

The tuliptree can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–9. View Map

Tree Type

This tree is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental tree. It features a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping.

Mature Size

The tuliptree grows to a height of 70–90' and a spread of around 40' at maturity.

Growth Speed Fast Growth Rate

This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The tuliptree grows well in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It prefers normal moisture but can tolerate drought in humid regions.


This tree:
  • Blooms in May and June, producing tulip-shaped flowers 1½–2" in diameter with greenish-yellow petals and a splash of orange at the base.
  • Provides vibrant yellow color in the fall.
  • Produces alternating leaves that are 3– 6" long with distinctive lobes, a flat base and two ear-like tips.
  • Yields colorful seeds held upright in the tree throughout the summer and into autumn.
  • Features aromatic stems.
  • Grows in an oval shape.

Wildlife Value

This tree provides food in many forms for many animals. In fall and winter, young trees are browsed by white-tailed deer and rabbits. The spring flowers provide nectar for ruby-throated hummingbirds. Tuliptree seeds, maturing in summer and persisting into winter, provide food for both birds and mammals, including finches, cardinals, quail, mice, red squirrels, gray squirrels and rabbits.


Once plentiful in their natural habitat in eastern America, tuliptrees were favored by loggers for railroad ties and fence posts. George Washington planted tuliptrees at Mount Vernon which are now 140' tall. And Daniel Boone used the wood of this tree for his 60' dugout canoe.