Genus Web Page by: Deborah Leigh Brown
by: Deborah Leigh Brown
The name Liriodendron is derived from
the Greek words leirion meaning lily and dendron meaning tree.
The genus Liriodendron belongs to the family,
Magnoliaceae, which are woody trees and shrubs containing 12
genera and around 220 species. They have alternate, deciduous,
simple, and usually entire leaves. The common name for the genus
Liriodendron is the tulip tree.
Photographed by: Deborah Leigh Brown
Example of a Magnolia Tree in the family Magnoliaceae
Liriodendron are recognized by their characteristic
leaves. The alternate leaves are 4-6 lobed with the middle lobe
cut off or notched at the tip. They are dark green above and
paler underneath. These leaves turn butter yellow in the fall.
They produce tulip-shaped flowers during the midsummer at the
tips of the branches. These flowers are pale green with banded
orange tepals at the base. The cone-shaped fruits contain many
overlapping winged seeds. Liriodendron are described as
"deciduous trees; buds covered by two pruinose stipules fused at
the margin; leaves alternate, usually four to six lobed, truncate
at the apex; flowers terminal, attractive, solitary, campanulate,
with three outspread sepals and six upright petals; stamens
numerous, with long filaments, directed outward, linear anthers;
ovaries numerous, on a spindle form, elongated column; fruit
cone-like, brown, composed of winged, single seeded achenes"
The genus Liriodendron consists of two species.
One specie, Liriodendron chinense, is found in central and southern
China as well as northern Vietnam. The other specie, Liriodendron
tulipifera, is found in the eastern United States.
|SPECIES ||COMMON NAMES ||REFERENCES
|L. chinense||Chinese Tuliptree||Merkle, 1993
|L. tulipifera||Tuliptree, Yellow Poplar, Whitewood, Tulip Poplar, Blue Poplar,
Saddletree, Canoewood, the Poplar Tulip-bearing Lily Tree||Chandler, 1988
The Chinese Tuliptree has been described as being
smaller than the Yellow Poplar. "The most reliable morphological
characters distinguishing the two species are the size, shape,
and coloration of the flowers" (Merkle, 1993). L. tulipifera have
orange blotches at the base of the inner tepals and L. chinense
flowers are green with yellow veins. L. chinense flowers are smaller
with petals 3 to 4 centimeters long and l. tulipifera flowers
are larger with petals 4 to 5 centimeters long. L. chinense leaves
are narrower waisted at the lobe junction than those of L. tulipifera
and are more blue-white underneath. L. chinense grows to 40 meters
high whereas L. tulipifera grows to 60 meters high. The leaves of
L. chinense are usually larger than those of L. tulipifera
Liriodendron are rapid-growing trees that do well
in all types of fertile soil, and they are best propagated by seed.
They should be planted in the spring as balled or container-grown
plants. They are not recommended for cities or areas without a lot
of root space. Deep, moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil is
best. Aphids can be a problem and the trees are easily damaged by
some herbicides. Otherwise, they are hardy and long-lived. Liriodendron
are grown as shade trees as well as ornamental trees. They are used for
construction grade lumber and plywood. The timber is known in the market
as Canary Whitewood.
Chandler, Philip, et al. Taylor's Guide to Trees. New York:
Chanticleer Press, 1988.
Krussmann, Gerd. Manual of Cultivated Broad-Leaved Trees
and Shrubs. Hong Kong: Timber Press, 1977.
Loudon, J.C. An Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs. London:
Spottiswoodes and Shaw, 1853.
Merkle, Scott A, et al. "Propagation of Liriodendron Hybrids
Via Somatic Embryogenesis." Plant Cell, Tissue, and Organ Culture
34 (1993): 191-198.
(C) Copyrights 97 Deborah Leigh Brown