This species is widely, but not commonly, distributed
in the Midlands and the south of England, and
some splendid specimens can be seen at Oxford,
Reading, Tortworth, and other places.
The Tulip Trees are close relatives of the true
Magnolias from which they differ in having their
leaves truncate at the tips, and never pointed.
L. Tulipfera is an American species and was bought
to England in the 17th century. In its native
haunts the tree attains a height of over 150 feet,
and in this country specimens of over 100 feet
in height are known.
The tree is much valued for its beautiful form
and fine bole, and the bark of the roots and stem
has a pleasant pungent scent. The wood is much
used in North America and known as yellow poplar.
It is smooth and of fine grain, not easily split
and is suitable for interior work.
The leaves are very characteristic. They are saddle-shaped,
with the apices always truncate and with a slender
leaf-stalk two to four inches in length.
The flowers are produced in June and July and
are tulip-shaped, which gives the tree its name.
The oblong petals are greenish-white with an orange-coloured
spot at the base, about one and a half inches
long, erect and with the tips overlapping. The
numerous orange-yellow stamens are crowded around
the large and pointed central pistil. The flowers,
when picked and placed in a flat bowl, look just
like small water-lilies.
The spectacle of a tulip tree in full flower is
very striking, especially at night time, when
the moonlight is on the flowers, giving the impression
of the tree being illuminated. It is said to be
one of the largest and finest trees of the North
American forests, and it is to be regretted, therefore,
that this interesting species is not planted much
more commonly in this country than it is, not
only for its fine summer form and foliage, but
also for its rich yellow autumnal tint.