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SPECIES:  Liriodendron tulipifera
Tuliptree. Image by John Ruter, University of Georgia,



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: [].
On 11 June 2018, the common name of this species was changed in FEIS
from: yellow-poplar
to: tuliptree. Images were also added.

ABBREVIATION: LIRTUL SYNONYMS: Liriodendron tulipifera var. fastigiatum (L.) Jaeq. Liriodendron tulipifera var. obtusilobum (L.) Michx. Liriodendron tulipifera forma aureomarginatum Schwerin Liriodendron tulipifera forma integrifolium Kirchr. [28] NRCS PLANT CODE: LITU COMMON NAMES: tuliptree blue-poplar tulip-poplar yellow-poplar yellow wood TAXONOMY: The scientific name of tuliptree is Liriodendron tulipifera L. (Magnoliaceae) [30]. LIFE FORM: Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS: No special status OTHER STATUS: NO ENTRY


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Tuliptree occurs in eastern North America.  The species ranges from Vermont, west through southern Ontario and Michigan, south to Louisiana, and east to northern Florida [1,2].
Distribution of tuliptree. Map courtesy of USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC [2018, June 11] [30].
   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch

     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


   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

   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




SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE: Tuliptree 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].  Tuliptree 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 tuliptree 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 tuliptree 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: Tuliptree 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: Tuliptrees 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: Tuliptree 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.  Tuliptree should be planted in mixtures with other hardwoods.  Tuliptree growth under decadent black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) in Indiana was good.  In eastern Kentucky height growth nearly doubled when tuliptree was interplanted with European alder (Alnus glutinosa) [29].  One-year-old seedlings are recommended for planting [29]. The lower pH limit for tuliptree on acid mine spoils is 4.5 [29]. Liming the spoils before planting has improved tuliptree establishment on acid spoils in Pennsylvania [14]. OTHER USES AND VALUES: Tuliptree 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]. Tuliptree 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, tuliptree is relatively free of pests.  Only four insect species have important impact on harvest.  Tuliptree scale (Toumeyella liriodendri) and tuliptree 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 tuliptree.  Its seeds survive for 4 to 8 years on the forest floor, making seed tree cuts unnecessary [6].  When tuliptree 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 tuliptree 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]. Tuliptree is shade intolerant and responds well to overstory thinning.  Tuliptree 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.  Tuliptree 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:  Tuliptree is very sensitive to high ozone concentrations [8].


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
Tuliptree leaves. Image by Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Tuliptree flower. Image by John Ruter, University of Georgia,
Tuliptree is a tall, deciduous, long-lived, broadleaf tree.  The
leaves are alternate with a distinctive tuliplike shape.  In forest
stands tuliptree 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].


Tuliptree 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].

Tuliptree 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].

Tuliptree 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.)

Climate:  Tuliptree 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:  Tuliptree grows near sea level in Florida to 4,500 feet
(1,364 m) in the Appalachian Mountains [3].

Tuliptree 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].

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 tuliptrees 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 tuliptree 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: Tuliptree 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]), tuliptree becomes extremely resistant to fire damage [1,2].  Little mortality occurs once trees are greater than 3 or 4 inches d.b.h. [31].  Tuliptree seeds are generally resistant to heat damage [31]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT: Compared with other hardwoods, tuliptree is relatively resistance to fire-damage-induced decay.  A study comparing wound size with amounts of bark discoloration found that tuliptrees were more resistant to wounding than oaks.  Even when large amounts of bark were discolored, larger diameter tuliptrees developed only small wounds [31]. Several studies have determined that within a given size class, tuliptree is generally more resistant to fire damage than oaks [31].   PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE: Sprouting:  Tuliptree sprouts from the root crown following top-kill by fire [2,16]. Seedling establishment:  Prescribed fire enhances the regeneration of tuliptree 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 tuliptree 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 tuliptree 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 tuliptrees 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 tuliptree, that was not available when this species review was written: FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS: NO ENTRY


SPECIES: Liriodendron tulipifera
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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. 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