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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Liriodendron tulipifera - Tulip Tree

The tulip tree is a large, fast growing deciduous tree to 70' x 30'. Pyramidal in youth, oval with age. Very popular native from the east coast. Not sure if its the flowers or the leaves.... but are pretty interesting. Grows a very tall and straight trunk. Fall color is pretty good but not always.

Leaves are alternate, simple, 3-8", lobed with a flat tip (truncated). Very easy to identify this tree from the leaf, nothing else like it.

Stems are stout, greenish-brown. They have very distinct buds, stipules (see below) and stipular scars. The buds are large, valvate, looking like a duck bill. The stipules are leaf like growths that emerge at the base of the leaves and soon fall off leaving a scar on the stem.

Flowers are quite pretty but not always easy to see. They are about 2-3" tall and 2" wide with 6 more or less greenish yellow petals. The inside of the petals is a large orange spot. They resemble tulips hence the common name.

Fruit is a collection of  achenes looking somewhat like a cone. This tree is from a very primitive group of angiosperms related to magnolias. 

Trunks are very straight and tall. Thin ridges, grayish colored. 

look for the truncated leaves.


Scotts Valley:
MacDorsa Park, actually in the parking lot strip on the Olive Center Drive entrance.

Santa Cruz
215 Dellview (Morrissey west) is very large
508 Olive St.

Corner of Green Valley and Main St in the parking lots.

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