Leaves simple, alternate, with 4-6 truncated lobes. Bark light gray, smooth, thick, deeply furrowed. Flowers greenish yellow, large.
The Tulip tree is the tallest hardwood tree in North America, growing to heights of 200 feet. Many refer to the tree as a yellow poplar, white poplar, or popple. In fact, the tree is not a poplar and does not share similar characteristics with poplars. It is a valuable lumber species, because the trunk grows relatively straight with few branches. Pioneers used to hollow out the trunk to make lightweight canoes. It is also used for making boxes, furniture, toys, musical instruments, and crates to store perishable goods. The wood of the tuliptree is the softest of “hardwoods” and is compared to the wood of white pine (Peattie 1964). Its real magnificence is shown in the spring when it is in bloom. The blossoms are large and beautiful.