May 22, 2003

I Think That I Shall Never See...

image copyright Fred First

Tulip Poplar flower, 21 May 2003

If you know no other tree's scientific name, learn this one for the Tulip "Poplar"...

Liriodendron tulipifera

Come on. Say it out loud. You know you want to. Isn't that a wonderful latin nugget? Sounds like a Druid incantation or an ominous secret phrase known only to Frodo and Samwise. For some reason, though, I always want to say it out the cigarless side of my mouth like a wise-crack from W. C. Fields. But that's just me.

Tulip poplar is by far the dominant tree species on our place. There are specimens almost this size. It is a comfort just to stand with my back against one of these magnificent monoliths in it's green shade, looking up thirty feet to its first branches with the distinctive leaves and flowers. They always remind me of trees drawn by children... tall linear trunks with a scribbled looking crown.

The biggest Tulip Poplar I've seen, and I think maybe the world record for the species is in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in North Carolina. Three adults can't wrap their arms around it; you have to call in a medium-sized six-year-old to complete the circle. Although the wood is a soft hardwood, they can live for up to 300 years. The Tulip Poplar isn't really a poplar tree. It is actually a member of the magnolia family. It's the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. And that's all I got to say 'bout that.

Posted by fred1st at May 22, 2003 06:30 AM | TrackBack

Hey, now we will call them something besides 'those trees with the pretty flowers that shed all over the driveway.' I like knowing the names of things too, Fred. Thanks.

Posted by: peggy at May 22, 2003 09:20 AM

Our church camps annually near Joyce Kilmer Forest, and I have visited the giants in those woods many times. They are truly impressive.

Posted by: Curt at May 22, 2003 12:40 PM

no tulip poplars here in Seattle except maybe a few that have been specifically planted, in the arboretum perhaps. I liked the ones we had growing in our back yard when I was growing up in Northern Virginia, barring the drips from the aphids that tended to turn the deck black. The flowers are wonderfully complex and large. Good genus name, too: Liriodendron

Posted by: Anita Rowland at May 23, 2003 07:09 AM

We used to have a tulip tree in the front yard of the last home we had in Ohio. I have fond memories of that tree

Posted by: da goddess at May 25, 2003 08:45 PM

I love the tulip trees. There are quite a few of them in this part of Florida. Beautiful trees.

Posted by: Pegasong at May 26, 2003 11:06 PM

I hate this tree. If it isn't dropping those 'flowers' it's dropping twigs, and when not dropping twigs, it's dropping leaves. Gutters totally filled with this mess. If mine wasn't 150ft tall, I'd have it cut down.


Posted by: Ted E. Ruxpin at August 5, 2003 10:29 AM

the Long Beach (California) Dept of Landscape cut our canopy drive of pines and put these prickly dropping husks, aphid excreeting loving, green only 4 months out of the year, mouldy trunk monsters. Parking 12 hours under these when the aphids are busy and you might be ready for a new paint job.

Posted by: Jerry Wood at April 29, 2004 03:21 AM

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