Tuliptree - Liriodendron tulipifera
Tuliptree is also known as Yellow Poplar, or Tulip Poplar.  This tree is the tallest hardwood species found in the Eastern United States.  The tallest specimen known at the present time is found in the Baxter Creek area of GSMNP, North Carolina at 177.4 feet tall, and 11 feet in circumference  (cbh).  It is also a tree that can also reach great diameter.  One tree in Maryland, the Liberty Tree, cut down after hurricane damage in 1999,  measured 21.5 feet in diameter and was found to have been 356 years old.  Recent finds in the Great Smokies have pushed the documented age for the species to over 500 years

The Sag Branch Tuliptree in GSMNP was accurately measured in April 2004 by ENTS tree climbers to determine its total volume.  Middleton Oak/Sag Branch Project The tree was at that time 167.7 feet tall, had a diameter of 7.08 feet, a crown spread of 101 feet, and a wood volume of 2,430 cubic feet (considering wood at least 1.5 inches thick) making it the 2nd largest volume tree measured in the Eastern United States. (Since that time the Senator Cypress has been found to be the largest volume tree measured, the Middleton Live Oak the second largest volume measured, and the Sag Branch Tuliptree falls to third)

Tuliptrees are tallest in the southern United States and Great Smokies.  In Pennsylvania the tallest has been measured at 158.6 feet.  The tallest in Massachusetts has been measured at 131.2 feet.


Tuliptree leaves, May 2004.  Photo by Ed Frank

Tuliptree Flower, June 2004 - photo by Ed Frank

Mature tuliptree overview. Photo by Ed Frank

Tuliptree leaves, May 2004.  Photo by Ed Frank

Tuliptree bark on a young tree with a cbh of 30 inches.  Photo by Ed Frank

Tuliptree bark on a mature tree with a cbh of  8 feet 5 inches.  Photo by Ed Frank

Yellow color displayed by tulip tree leaves in the autumn - photo by Ed Frank

158.6' Tuliptree: My brother, Ben, at the base of the tallest tree we found and tallest hardwood known in PA. Fairmount Park, PA.  Photo by Will Blozan

One of Zoar Valley, NY's cathedral tulip tree groves. Canopy is 135 - 156'.  Photo by Tom Diggins

Neil Pederson wrote June 09, 2007:  I was in the Smoky Mtns with
fellow ENTS Jess Riddle at the North American Dendroecological Fieldweek
last week. I mention this because data of interest will be presented from
the fieldweek at this gathering: the oldest-documented tulip-poplar is now
up to ~ 500 yrs! Jess took the first core of this tree. The amazing thing
is that this tree is only 101 cm in DBH AND we recovered only ~ one-half of
the estimated radius. Yet, this short cores has ~ 500 rings. A final age and
images of this tree will be announced to ENTS later in the summer once we
get final cross-dating [and a picture - it was not that remarkable looking -
just another 1 m dbh tulip]. There still are some dating errors prior to
the 1780s or so [we were teaching newcomers to the field of dendrochronology
and these are short sessions to learn dendro on diffuse-porous species.].