Family: Magnoliaceae
Common Name: Tulip Tree

There are only two species in this genus of large, graceful, deciduous trees. Their unusual, four-lobed leaves distinguish there from all other trees, while their beautiful flowers are also unique, being greenish yellow in colour, with orange or yellow at the base of the petals and prominent stamens. They flower in midsum­mer and have bright gold autumn foliage.


L. chinense, Chinese tulip tree, zone 8, has a broadly columnar habit, growing to 25 m (80 ft). The striking, olive green flowers are coloured pale yellow at the base.

L. tulipifera, zone 4, from eastern North America, grows 30 m (100 ft) in its habitat and has fragrant, large, pale lime flowers, usually carried near the top of the tree, with a broad orange band at the base. This species is more commonly grown, reaching 20-30 m (65-100 ft) in cultivation. Timber of this species, called yellow poplar in America, is used in cabinet-making. The leaves of cultivar 'Aureomarginatum' are widely edged with deep yellow. It is lower growing than the species.


Tulip trees do best in very rich, damp soil in a temperate climate, but their large size makes them suitable only for large gardens. Propagate from seed.


Best in cool, moist climates.

Liquidambar      Liriope