Nature Study of the Yellow Poplar

Written Introduction

The Yellow Poplar is one of the tallest and most beautiful eastern hardwoods. Introduced into Europe from Virginia by the earliest colonists and grown also on the Pacific Coast. The tallest of the trees with massive trunks existed in the primeval forests but were cut for the valuable soft wood. Pioneers hollowed out a single log to make a long, lightweight canoe. One of the chief commercial hardwoods, Yellow-poplar is used for furniture, as well as for crates, toys, musical instruments, and pulpwood.


The Yellow Poplar is characterized with a long straight trunk and a narrow crown that spreads with age. The tree's height ranges from 80-120 feet with a diameter of 2-3 feet and many times much larger. During the spring the yellow poplar blooms. These large showy flowers resemble a tulip or lily. From this flower the tree is also referred to as the "Tuliptree" and the "Tulip-Poplar." From the Genus Liriodendron and the species of tulipifera. The flower is 1-2 inches long and wide in a cup-shape. Six rounded green petals with orange at the base make up the flower. These flowers generally grow at the end of a leafy twig.

The Leaves are 3-6 inches long and wide with a broad tip and base nearly straight like a square. The blades are of unusual shape comprised of 4-6 pointed paired lobes. The topside is a shiny dark leaf with a paler underside. The leaf turns a bright yellow in autumn. The bark of the tree is a dark gray. It becomes dark and deeply furrowed.