Yellow Poplar

Liriodendron tulipifera

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

Yellow Poplars are one of Virginia's tallest trees, growing up to 120 feet tall. They have a long, straight trunk, large flowers, and leaves that make it easy to identify.

Yellow Poplar leaves are shaped like a tulip blossom. Some people even call this tree a "tulip-tree." Leaves are usually three to six inches long, with four lobes. They are dark or shiny green above, and pale green underneath.

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

The flowers of this tree can be two inches long. They are yellow and orange with a cup shape.

Fruits are cone-shaped, about three inches long. They release winged seeds that are eaten by many animals, including: Eastern Cottontails, Eastern Gray Squirrels, Beaver, mice, Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinch, Purple Finches, and chickadees.

Copyright, University of Tennesee, Knoxville

Copyright, Mark Brand, UConn Plant Database

Yellow Poplar bark is dark gray, and it becomes thick and furrowed as it gets older.

The trunk of this tree can reach three feet across.

This tree is found with other hardwood trees, such as oaks, American Beech, maples, Black Cherry, Eastern White Pine, and hickories.

Hummingbirds, Honey Bees, Bumble Bees, Tiger Swallowtails and other insects help pollinate this tree when they visit flowers.

Oregon State University, Department of Horticulture

Oregon State University, Department of Horticulture

This tree has many types of fungi which grow from its roots, and help the tree; and it is home to many creatures, such as woodpeckers and squirrels.

Because these trees are so large and leafy, they provide cover for deer, small mammals, and birds.

Gypsy Moths, a pest for other large trees, do not bother Yellow Poplars. These moths actually help this tree by eating away at other trees which would compete for water and light. Yellow Poplars cannot tolerate shade.

The leaves of Yellow Poplar do turn yellow in the Fall.

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants


White-tailed Deer

Pileated Woodpecker

Black Oak

European Gypsy Moth C

Eastern Cottontail

Black Rat Snake

Southern Red Oak

Honey Mushroom Pa

American Goldfinch

Eastern Gray Squirrel

White Oak

Turkey Tail Pa

Northern Cardinal

White-tailed Deer

Eastern White Pine

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Po

Americn Robin

Wood Duck

American Beech

Jack O'Lantern

Blue Jay

Eastern Cottontail

Red Maple

Mossy Maple Polypore Pa

White-footed Mouse

Sassafras Weevil

Black Cherry

Japanese Honeysuckle Pa

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Wild Turkey

Witch Hazel

Oyster Mushroom Pa

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Common Crow

Mockernut Hickory

Golden Northern Bumble Bee Po


Mourning Cloak

Virginia Creeper

Honey Bee Po

Honey Bee

Blue Jay

Poison Ivy

Sassafras Weevil Pa

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Virginia Opossum

Flowering Dogwood

Golden Northern Bumble Bee

Dogday Harvestfly

Highbush Blueberry

Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

American Holly

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Mourning Dove


White-throated Sparrow

Carolina Chickadee

Loblolly Pine

Carolina Chickadee

True Katydid

Willow Oak

Eastern Subterranean Termite

Downy Woodpecker

Japanese Honeysuckle

True Katydid

Eastern Hercules Beetle

American Hornbeam

Sassafras Weevil

Northern Caddis Fly

Black Locust

Relationship to Humans:

Yellow Poplar is used by people for lumber, plywood, pulp (to make paper), shingles, cabinets, furniture, crates, toys, and musical instruments. It is not a good firewood, but twigs make decent kindling.

This tree is extremely important for the wildlife it supports, as a food source, nesting site, and cover.


Liriodendron tulipifera


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