Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

A Favorite Tree – the Tulip Tree

Posted by middlerage on November 19, 2013

So I went onto the web to find photos of a favorite tree I want to discuss in this post, and all of the images run contrary to why this is one of my favs. Images I found of the Tulip Tree, aka Yellow Poplar (though it is unrelated to true poplars), all show a fairly nondescript tree, with a trunk, leaves, and unremarkable “crown” of tree-ish shape.

Oh, but it ain’t so.

When I’m hiking in the eastern woods, where this tree is native, the Tulip tree stands out among the usual bulging, twisting, arching, craggy, knobby sylviforms. It is always standing ramrod straight, slender yet massive, soaring to the sky, one of the tallest trees in the forest. It is eerie and preternatural how smooth and straight and impossibly tall this tree is. It seems like a something out of Tolkien’s mind, the flawlessness only highlighted by the crooked oaks, hickories, paw paws, birches, and sweet gums surrounding it.  Find an old one, and it is as massive and straight as a column of the acropolis.

For my money, it is called a tulip tree for the unique shape  of its leaves, but I don’t remember where I heard that, and I can’t defend it. This Wikipedia article claims the name is because of the flowers, but here is a nice picture to let you decide for yourself:




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