Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Liriodendron tulipifera


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Griffith, Randy Scott. 1991. Liriodendron tulipifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : LIRTUL SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : LITU COMMON NAMES : yellow-poplar blue-poplar tulip-poplar tuliptree yellow wood TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of yellow-poplar is Liriodendron tulipifera L. (Magnoliaceae) [30]. Recognized varieties and forms are as follows [28]: L. t. var. fastigiatum (L.) Jaeq. L. t. var. obtusilobum (L.) Michx. L. t. forma aureomarginatum Schwerin L. t. forma integrifolium Kirchr. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO ENTRY


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Yellow-poplar inhabits eastern North America.  The species ranges from Vermont, west through southern Ontario and Michigan, south to Louisiana, and east to northern Florida [1,2]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES10  White - red - jack pine    FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine    FRES14  Oak - pine    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress    FRES18  Maple - beech - birch STATES :      AL  AR  CT  DE  FL  GA  IL  IN  KY  LA      MD  MA  MI  MS  MO  NJ  NY  NC  OH  PA      RI  SC  TN  VT  VA  WV  ON BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K081  Oak savanna    K082  Mosaic of K074 and K100    K084  Cross Timbers    K089  Black Belt    K090  Live oak - sea oats    K091  Cypress savanna    K095  Great Lakes pine forest    K099  Maple - basswood forest    K100  Oak - hickory forest    K102  Beech - maple forest    K103  Mixed mesophytic forest    K104  Appalachian oak forest    K106  Northern hardwoods    K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest    K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest    K109  Transition between K104 and K106    K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest    K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest    K112  Southern mixed forest    K114  Pocosin    K115  Sand pine scrub SAF COVER TYPES :    21  Eastern white pine    22  White pine    51  White pine - chestnut oak    52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak    53  White oak    55  Northern red oak    57  Yellow poplar    58  Yellow poplar - eastern hemlock    59  Yellow poplar - white oak - northern red oak    60  Beech - sugar maple    64  Sassafras - persimmon    81  Loblolly pine    82  Loblolly pine - hardwood    87  Sweet gum - yellow poplar    91  Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : NO ENTRY


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Yellow-poplar wood is used for construction grade lumber and plywood [1].  It has straight grain, little shrinkage, and excellent gluing qualities [2].  In the past is was used for carriage bodies, shingles, saddle frames, and interior finish wood.  It is currently used for cabinets, veneer, furniture, and pulp [2].  Yellow-poplar has only fair value as a fuelwood but good value as kindling [4]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Livestock prefer the foliage and stems of yellow-poplar over those of other tree species.  Young trees are often heavily browsed, and seedlings are frequently eliminated by browsing or trampling [1]. Cattle or other browsers create "browse lines" on older trees [2]. White-tailed deer browse yellow-poplar during all seasons [23]. Northern bobwhites, purple finches, cottontails, red squirrels, gray squirrels, and white-footed mice consume the samaras [2]. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers use the phloem, and ruby-throated hummingbirds consume nectar from the flowers [21]. PALATABILITY : Yellow-poplar has been rated fair in palatability for livestock, white-tailed deer, small mammals, upland game birds, and songbirds [4]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : Yellow-poplars in various stages of growth provide hiding and thermal cover for white-tailed deer, small mammals, upland game birds, waterfowl, and nongame birds [21].  They provide habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker [15]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Yellow-poplar has been planted onto surface coal mine reclamation sites with variable results, but total failures are rare [7,29].  One-year-old seedlings planted on sites in Kentucky and Illinois showed good survival rates (24 percent) for 30 years after planting.  Yellow-poplar should be planted in mixtures with other hardwoods.  Yellow-poplar growth under decadent black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) in Indiana was good.  In eastern Kentucky height growth nearly doubled when yellow-poplar was interplanted with European alder (Alnus glutinosa) [29].  One-year-old seedlings are recommended for planting [29]. The lower pH limit for yellow-poplar on acid mine spoils is 4.5 [29]. Liming the spoils before planting has improved yellow-poplar establishment on acid spoils in Pennsylvania [14]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Yellow-poplar has been valued as an ornamental since 1663.  The tuliplike flowers and leaves are aesthetically pleasing [2].  The flowers are also valuable nectar producers.  The flowers from a 20-year-old tree produce enough nectar to yield 4 pounds (1.8 kg) of honey [1]. Yellow-poplar was used medicinally in the late 1800's:  a heart stimulant was extracted from the inner bark of the root [13], and a tonic for treating rheumatism and dyspepsia was extracted from stem bark [28]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Insects:  Compared with other commercial species, yellow-poplar is relatively free of pests.  Only four insect species have important impact on harvest.  Tuliptree scale (Toumeyella liriodendri) and yellow-poplar weevil (Odontopus calceatus) feed on the buds and stems. Root collar borer (Euzophera ostricolorella) and Columbian timber beetle (Corthtlus columbianus) bore into the bole and root crown, providing pathways for other pathogens to enter the tree.  The Columbian timber beetle also lowers lumber grade by creating a large black streak above and below beetle burrow entries [1,2,24]. Silviculture:  Clearcutting is the recommended harvest method for yellow-poplar.  Its seeds survive for 4 to 8 years on the forest floor, making seed tree cuts unnecessary [6].  When yellow-poplar is harvested in warm seasons, the wood is susceptible to a wood-staining fungi (Ceratocystis spp.) which lowers the lumber grade.  Rapid processing of the logs in warm seasons reduces monetary losses from staining [2]. Season of harvest can have an impact on establishment and growth of yellow-poplar seedlings.  In stands logged in late spring or summer, seeds may not germinate until the following year; these seedlings may not be able to compete with vegetation started the previous year. However, where a good seed source was previously present, summer cuttings usually produce an adequate number of seedlings.  If the seed supply in the litter is scarce, fall, winter, or early spring harvesting may aid in seedling establishment [2]. Yellow-poplar is shade intolerant and responds well to overstory thinning.  Yellow-poplar was four times taller and five times larger in dbh in an 18-year-old stand where all the overstory vegetation had been removed than in the control [2].  Lamson [18] has provided information on thinning.  Yellow-poplar responds well to fertilization.  It grew twice as tall on sites fertilized with diammonium phosphate at a rate of 500 pounds per acre (562 kg/ha) than on control sites [10]. Pollution:  Yellow-poplar is very sensitive to high ozone concentrations [8].


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Yellow-poplar is a tall, deciduous, long-lived, broadleaf tree.  The leaves are alternate with a distinctive tuliplike shape.  In forest stands yellow-poplar is one of the straightest and tallest trees, with approximately 66 percent of the bole free of lateral branches [1,2].  It can reach heights of 200 feet (61 m) and a dbh greater than 10 feet (3 m) [13].  The flowers are tuliplike in size and shape [1,2,11].  The fruit is a conelike structure consisting of many winged samaras on a central stalk [2]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :       Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Yellow-poplar is mainly insect pollinated, with some selfing.  It a prolific seed producer.  It first produces seed at 15 to 20 years of age and continues to do so for more than 200 years [1].  Heavy seed crops tend to compensate for low seed viability (around 5-20 percent) [26]. The samaras are wind dispersed to distances 4 and 5 times the height of the parent tree.  The samaras remain viable in the seedbank for up to 8 years [5,16,19].  Seeds require a cold stratification period, and germination rates vary with time and temperature.  Generally as temperature decreases and time increases the germination rate increases; for example, 90 percent germination occurred after 140 days at 36 degrees Fahrenheit (2 deg C) [1,3].  Germination is epigeal and occurs when seeds remain constantly moist for several weeks [3,5].  Germination is enhanced on mineral soil or on well-decomposed humus [2]. Yellow-poplar sprouts from dormant buds located on the root crown after cutting and/or fire.  Sprouting decreases with age, as the bark becomes too thick for the bud to break through [2,16].  Initially sprout growth surpasses seedling growth, but at 25 to 35 years seedling regeneration height catches and surpasses sprout regeneration height [2]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Yellow-poplar grows best on north and east aspects, lower slopes, sheltered coves, and gentle concave slopes [1,27]. Soils:  Growth is best on moderately deep loams that are moderately moist, well drained, and loose textured [1,27]. Associated species:  Overstory associates include baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), tupelo (Nyssa spp.), loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), shortleaf pine (P. echinata), eastern white pine (P. strobus), oaks (Quercus spp.), white ash (Fraxinus americana), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), black walnut (Juglans nigra), and hickory (Carya spp.) [1,2]. Climate:  Yellow-poplar grows under a variety of climatic conditions due its broad geographic distribution.  The average rainfall varies from 30 to 80 inches (760-2030 mm), and the number of frost-free days varies from 150 to 310 days [1]. Elevation:  Yellow-poplar grows near sea level in Florida to 4,500 feet (1,364 m) in the Appalachian Mountains [3]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Obligate Initial Community Species Yellow-poplar is a shade-intolerant, pioneer species.  It often invades open sites, and in old-field succession it occurs in pure or nearly pure stands [1,16]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Yellow poplar flowers from April to June; seeds mature from August to late October.  Peak samara dispersal is from October to November, with a few falling as late as March [2,26].


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Mature yellow-poplars have bark sufficiently thick (> 0.5 inch [1 cm]) to insulate the cambium layer and allow trees to survive low- to moderate-severity fire.  Trees top-killed by fire sprout from dormant buds located on the root crown [2].  Fire can enhance yellow-poplar seedling establishment [31]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker    Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)    Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Yellow-poplar seedlings and saplings have thin bark which makes them very susceptible to fire damage.  Fire generally kills young trees less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.  Once bark is thick enough to insulate the cambium (0.5 inch [1.3 cm]), yellow-poplar becomes extremely resistant to fire damage [1,2].  Little mortality occurs once trees are greater than 3 or 4 inches d.b.h. [31].  Yellow-poplar seeds are generally resistant to heat damage [31]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : Compared with other hardwoods, yellow-poplar is relatively resistance to fire-damage-induced decay.  A study comparing wound size with amounts of bark discoloration found that yellow-poplars were more resistant to wounding than oaks.  Even when large amounts of bark were discolored, larger diameter yellow-poplars developed only small wounds [31]. Several studies have determined that within a given size class, yellow-poplar is generally more resistant to fire damage than oaks [31].   PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Sprouting:  Yellow-poplar sprouts from the root crown following top-kill by fire [2,16]. Seedling establishment:  Prescribed fire enhances the regeneration of yellow-poplar by releasing seed stored on the forest floor [31]. Following fall prescribed fire in the Upper Piedmont of South Carolina, the number and height growth of yellow-poplar seedlings were significantly higher on burned than on unburned plots.  After one growing season, the burned plots had about 12,000 seedlings per acre; the unburned, 2,000.  After three growing seasons, seedlings on the burned plots averaged 3.5 feet (1.06 m) in height; seedlings on the unburned plots averaged 3.0 feet (0.91 m) [26]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : While mature yellow-poplar is very fire resistant, the saplings are susceptible to fire [1].  In a 5-year-old stand burned with varying severities, the densities of saplings over 4.5 feet (1.4 m) in height 3 years (areas 1 and 3) and 2 years (areas 2 and 4) after fire had decreased significantly from prefire densities.  Sapling densities (stems/acre) were as follows [22]:                 Area 1      Area 2      Area 3      Area 4                 Burn        Burn        No Burn     Burn               (Moderate)   (Light)     (Control)   (Severe) Saplings          709         74          677         294 Postfire change  -438        -21         +23          -8 Severe basal wounding of 8- to 18-inch-diameter yellow-poplars had no significant effect on diameter growth rate 7 to 14 years after a fire [31]. The following Research Project Summaries provide information on prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including yellow-poplar, that was not available when this species review was written: FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO ENTRY


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
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Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 5 p.  [9925]  5.  Clark, Alexander, III; Schroeder, James G. 1986. Weight, volume, and        physical properties of major hardwood species in the southern        Appalachian Mountains. Res. Pap. SE-253. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department        of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Experiment Station. 63 p.        [11023]  6.  Clark, F. Bryan. 1962. White ash, hackberry, and yellow-poplar seed        remain viable when stored in the forest litter. Indiana Academy of        Science Proceedings. 1962: 112-114.  [237]  7.  Davidson, Walter H. 1988. Potential for planting hardwoods in the        Appalachians. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E.,        Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood stands:        Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ. 88-03.        Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 255-268.  [13951]  8.  Davis, D. D.; Umbach, D. M.; Coppolino, J. B. 1981. Susceptibility of        tree and shrub species and response of black cherry foliage to ozone.        Plant Disease. 65(11): 904-907.  [12517]  9.  Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and        Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p.  [905] 10.  Farmer, R. E., Jr. 1981. Early growth of black cherry, oaks, and        yellow-poplar in southern Appalachian plantings. Tree Planters' Notes.        32(3): 12-14.  [12504] 11.  Farmer, Robert E., Jr.; Pitcher, John A. 1981. Pollen handling for        southern hardwoods. In: Agric. Handb. 587. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 77-83.  [12654] 12.  Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others].        1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range        ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p.  [998] 13.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375] 14.  Hughes, H. Glenn. 1990. Ecological restoration: fact or fantasy on        strip-mined lands in western Pennsylvania?. In: Hughes, H. Glenn;        Bonnicksen, Thomas M., eds. Restoration '89: the new management        challenge: Proceedings, 1st annual meeting of the Society for Ecological        Restoration; 1989 January 16-20; Oakland, CA. Madison, WI: The        University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Society for Ecological Restoration:        237-243.  [14699] 15.  Kalisz, Paul J.; Boettcher, Susan E. 1991. Active and abandoned        red-cockaded woodpecker habitat in Kentucky. Journal of Wildlife        Management. 55(1): 146-154.  [13837] 16.  Kelty, Matthew J. 1988. Sources of hardwood regeneration and factors        that influence these sources. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.;        Kidd, William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian        hardwood stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV.        SAF Publ. 88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 17-30.        [13931] 17.  Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation        of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York:        American Geographical Society. 77 p.  [1384] 18.  Lamson, Neil I. 1983. Precommercial thinning increases diameter growth        of Appalachian hardwood stump sprouts. Southern Journal of Applied        Forestry. 7(2): 93-97.  [12563] 19.  Loftis, David L. 1979. Partial cuts to regenerate upland hardwoods in        the Southeast. In: Proceedings of the National siviculture workshop.        Theme: The shelterwood regeneration method; 1979 September 17-21;        Charleston, SC. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Division of Timber Management: 92-100.  [11661] 20.  Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession        following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall        Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council        fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No.        14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373.  [1496] 21.  Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American        wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p.        [4021] 22.  McGee, Charles E. 1980. The effect of fire on species dominance in young        upland hardwood stands. In: Proceedings, mid-south upland hardwood        symposium for the practicing forester and land manager; [Date of        conference unknown]; [Location of conference unknown]. Atlanta, GA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Division of State and Private        Forestry: 97-104.  [12706] 23.  Michael, Edwin D. 1988. Effects of white-tailed deer on Appalachian        hardwood regeneration. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd,        William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood        stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ.        88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 89-96.  [13936] 24.  Millers, Imants; Shriner, David S.; Rizzo, David. 1989. History of        hardwood decline in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-126.        Bromall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 75 p.  [10925] 25.  Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant        geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p.  [2843] 26.  Shearin, A. T.; Bruner, Marlin H.; Goebel, N. B. 1972. Prescribed        burning stimulates natural regeneration of yellow-poplar. Journal of        Forestry. 70: 482-484.  [10056] 27.  Smalley, Glendon W. 1984. Classification and evaluation of forest sites        in the Cumberland Mountains. Gen. Tech. Rep. SO-50. New Orleans, LA:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest        Experiment Station. 84 p.  [9831] 28.  Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest.        Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p.  [7707] 29.  Vogel, Willis G. 1981. A guide for revegetating coal minesoils in the        eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-68. Broomall, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 190 p.  [15575] 30.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982.        National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names.        SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p.  [11573] 31.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Region. 1989.        Final environmental impact statement. Vegetation management in the        Coastal Plain/Piedmont. Vol. 1. Management Bulletin R8-MB-23. Atlanta,        GA. 351 p.  [10220] 32.  Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern        Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire        Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p.  [20090]