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Posts Tagged ‘Liriodendron tulipifera’

I have been seeing the flowers of tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) on the ground during some recent photo excursions and yesterday I finally found a tree at Occoquan Regional Park where the flowers were low enough for me to get a shot of one of them. I like to call it a tulip tree because of the shape of these flowers, but it has lots of other names by which it is known including American tulip tree, tulipwood, tuliptree, tulip poplar, whitewood, fiddletree, canoewood, and yellow poplar.

Tulip trees are fast-growing and can get to be really tall. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a tulip tree can have height increases of more than 24 inches (61 cm) per year. George Washington is reported to have planted some tulip trees at Mount Vernon that are now 140 feet (43 meters) tall. They can grow even taller than that—according to Wikipedia, the current tallest tulip tree on record in North America is 191.9 feet (58 meters) in height. Wow!

You may notice that I managed to capture an insect in this image, one that I cannot immediately identify. My friend Cindy Dyer like to call them “bonus bugs,” when you discover them only after you have taken the photo. In this case, I was watching the insect crawl around as I was composing the shot, so it does not qualify as a “bonus bug.”

tulip tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I was thrilled on Thursday when I spotted this flowering Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) at Occoquan Regional Park. Tulip trees, also known as tulip poplars or yellow poplars, don’t start flowering until they are older, up to 15 years old, and grow fast and really tall—the current tallest tulip tree on record has reached 191.9 feet (58 meters). Individual tulip trees have been known to live for up to 500 years, according to Wikipedia.

I had seen flowers like this one on the ground repeatedly while hiking in the woods this spring and never could figure out where they came from. Most of the time, the flowers are found high in the tree, out of sight. In this case, I was fortunate that the flower was still attached to the tree and was only slightly above eye level.

Here are a few shots of the tulip tree flowers—they definitely remind me of tulips, although they are in no way related, but instead are related to magnolia trees. The final shot shows a flower that had fallen and gives you a look at the distinctively shaped leaf of the tulip tree.

tulip tree

tulip tree

tulip tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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