Tulip tree often incorrectly called poplar

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This photo shows the springtime flower of the American tulip tree. The tree is actually named for its gorgeous flower, which resembles a tulip blossom.

Commonly called "tulip poplar" or "yellow poplar," the tulip tree is not a poplar.

It is a member of the family of trees that include magnolias.

Although common and relatively widespread in the forests of Southeast Missouri, the tulip tree is a rarity almost anywhere else west of the Mississippi River.

Truly an American tree, it is native to most of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River and south of Lake Erie.

The American tulip tree is a fast-growing species that if left to grow will often become the tallest tree in any Southeast Missouri forest.

This tree is highly valued for its clean, white to yellowish, soft wood that is used for lumber, plywood and carpentry.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the O'Tenem Gallery.

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