Tulip Tree (Tulip Poplar)
The tulip tree, also known as the tulip poplar, is named for the distinctive shape of its beautiful blooms, which are on display from late May to mid-June. The tulip tree is North America's tallest native hardwood tree and probably existed on Manhattan before Central Park's creation. Many aspects of the tulip tree make them easily identifiable: they're very tall and very straight; the tulip-like flowers in spring give way to pinecone-shaped seed spikes that sometimes last into winter; the mask-like leaves turn brilliant golden yellow in fall; their leaves have a shape like no other in Central Park. Tulip trees are pollinated by hummingbirds, bumblebees, and tiger swallowtail butterflies.
Leaves5-8 inches long, alternate arrangement, tulip-shaped, bright green, golden yellow in fall
FruitCone-shaped, aggregate, persists in winter
Flower2-3 inches long, tulip-shaped, upright blossoms, bloom late May to mid-June
BarkGray; fine stripes of light gray on long, narrow, trench-like surface