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Magnoliaceae Magnolia Family

=Liriodendron Tulipifera, L.=


=Habitat and Range.=--Prefers a rich, loamy, moist soil.

Vermont,--valley of the Hoosac river in the southwestern corner of the

state; Massachusetts,--frequent in the Connecticut river valley and

westward; reported as far east as Douglas, southeastern corner of

Worcester county (R. M. Harper, Rhodora, II, 122); Rhode Island and

Connecticut,--frequent, especially in the central and southern portions

of the latter state.

South to the Gulf states; west to Wisconsin; occasional in the

eastern sections of Missouri and Arkansas; attains great size in

the basins of the Ohio and its tributaries, and southward along the

Mississippi river bottoms.

=Habit.=--A medium-sized tree, 50-70 feet high; trunk 2-3 feet in

diameter, straight, cylindrical; head rather open, more or less

cone-shaped, in the dense forest lifted high and spreading; branches

small for the size of the tree, set at varying angles, often decurrent,

becoming scraggly with age. The shapely trunk, erect, showy blossoms,

green, cone-like fruit, and conspicuous bright green truncate leaves

give the tulip tree an air of peculiar distinction.

=Bark.=--Bark of trunk ashen-gray and smoothish in young trees, becoming

at length dark, seamed, and furrowed; the older branches gray; the

season's shoots of a shining chestnut, with minute dots and conspicuous

leaf-scars; glabrous or dusty-pubescent; bark of roots pale brown,

fleshy, with an agreeable aromatic smell and pungent taste.

=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Terminal buds 1/2-1 inch long; narrow-oblong;

flattish; covered by two chestnut-brown dotted scales, which persist as

appendages at the base of the leafstalk, often enclosing several leaves

which develop one after the other. Leaves simple, alternate, lobed; 3-5

inches long and nearly as broad, dark green and smooth on the upper

surface, lighter, with minute dusty pubescence beneath, becoming yellow

and russet brown in autumn; usually with four rounded or pointed lobes,

the two upper abruptly cut off at the apex, and separated by a slight

indentation or notch more or less broad and shallow at the top; all the

lobes entire, or 2-3 sublobed, or coarsely toothed; base truncate, acute

or heart-shaped; leafstalks as long or longer than the blade, slender,

enlarged at the base; stipules 1-2 inches long, pale yellow, oblong,

often persisting till the leaf is fully developed.

=Inflorescence.=--Late May or early June. Flowers conspicuous, solitary,

terminal, held erect by a stout stem, tulip-shaped, 1-1/2-2 inches long,

opening at the top about 2 inches. There are two triangular bracts which

fall as the flower opens; three greenish, concave sepals, at length

reflexed; six greenish-yellow petals with an orange spot near the base

of each; numerous stamens somewhat shorter than the petals; and pistils

clinging together about a central axis.

=Fruit.=--Cone-like, formed of numerous carpels, often abortive, which

fall away from the axis at maturity; each long, flat carpel encloses in

the cavity at its base one or two orange seeds which hang out for a time

on flexible, silk-like threads.

=Horticultural Value.=--An ornamental tree of great merit; hardy except

in the coldest parts of New England; difficult to transplant, but

growing rapidly when established; comes into leaf rather early and holds

its foliage till mid-fall, shedding it in a short time when mature;

adapts itself readily to good, light soils, but grows best in moist

loam. It has few disfiguring insect enemies. Mostly propagated by seed,

but sometimes successfully collected; for sale in the leading nurseries

and usually obtainable in large quantities. Of abnormal forms offered by

nurserymen, one has an upright habit approaching that of the Lombardy

poplar; another has variegated leaves, and another leaves without lobes.

1. Winter bud, terminal.

2. Opening leaf-bud with stipules.

3. Flowering branch.

4. Fruit.

5. Fruit with many carpels removed.

6. Carpel with seeds.


=Sassafras officinale, Nees.=

Sassafras Sassafras, Karst.

Next: Sassafras

Previous: Mulberry

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