Name: Liriodendron tulipifera aka tulip tree or tulip-poplar
Type of Plant: A large, native tree in the magnolia family. (Magnoliaceae) Best grown in full sun and acidic soils. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
Why I Love This Plant: Wind and salt-spray tolerant, straight trunks, beautiful flowers and great fall foliage color. What’s not to love? It flowers in early summer, and hummingbirds appreciate the nectar. The seeds provide food for a variety of wildlife, including many birds, squirrels and rabbits.
This tree grows quite large, so be sure to place it where it can grow 60-90 feet tall. In coastal, windy locations it will be on the smaller size because of the exposure.
A Word to the Wise: This tree has a wonderful part of American history. The huge trunks in primordial forests were cut and made into canoes by early settlers. They most likely learned this from native Americans, because several indigenous groups used this tree. For example, the Cherokee used Liriodendron not only to make canoes, but for medicine, baskets and the construction of furniture and houses.