Archive for the ‘Tulip Tree’ Category

 

Things I learned this year…

•  The Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera) also called the American Tulip, Tulip Poplar, or Yellow Poplar is a member of the Magnolia family.  It’s an important nectar source for bees across Tennessee, Kentucky, and much of the eastern US.

•  The wood of choice for organs, panels of carriages, coffin boxes, wooden ware and because it’s resistant to termites, house and barn sills were made using tulip poplar beams.

•  The wood is lightweight and was preferred by Native American tribes in the construction of canoes.

•  Tea was made from the inner bark to treat fevers and indigestion.

•  The bark can be chewed for an aphrodisiac.

Many thanks to Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy  for hosting the Tree Following blog

If you have keen powers of observation, a curiosity about nature, and a camera to record tree changes, please consider following a tree.

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"All the leaves are gone, and the sky is gray."  For the last few weeks, every day when I walk past this tree, the Mama's and Papa's start playing that song in my head.

“All the leaves are gone, and the sky is gray.” For the last few weeks, every day when I walk past this tree, The Mamas And The Papas start playing that song in my head.

1-10-15...There are still many seed pods hanging on the tree.  I've got a whole bag of them, so I won't be picking these.

1-10-15…There are still many seed pods hanging on the tree. I’ve got a whole bag of them, so I won’t be needing these.

Close up view of a seed pod.

Close up view of a seed pod.

Already a promise of things to come.

Already a promise of things to come.

Many thanks to Lucy at Loose and Leafy for hosting the Follow a Tree blog.  I have learned so much about this Tulip tree that I never would have learned if there had not been a deadline.

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On a bleak December day, we set out to rake in the golden harvest of the Tulip tree.

On a bleak December day, we set out to rake in the golden harvest of the Tulip tree.

I have to show off my new hat, of course. :)

I have to show off my new hat, of course. 🙂

No noisy leaf blower for us, we'd rather do it the hard way.

No noisy leaf blower for us, we’d rather do it the hard way.

Who can pick up the most leaves?

Who can pick up the most leaves?

Me, of course...with the big hay fork!

Me, of course…with the big hay fork!

Half way done.

Half way done.

All done.

All done.

A golden treasure...to be parceled out to garden beds, compost, and, 'insect piles.'

A golden treasure…to be parceled out to garden beds, compost, and, ‘leaf litter.’

We made short work of it…

I thought you might like to see Steve Montana playing his banjo.

 

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November 11...The leaves are full of color.  In another month or less, I'll be happy to rake up piles of them.  Ulp, I better see if the owners are okay with that.

November 11…The leaves of the Tulip tree are full of color. In another month or less, I’ll be happy to rake up piles of them. Hmmm, maybe I better see if the owners are okay with that.

A different view of the Tulip tree.  The setting sun brings out the colors.

A different view of the Tulip tree. The setting sun brings out the colors.

Ah, there's a seed pod up there.

Ah, there’s a seed pod up there.

The seed pods are finally dried.  I pulled out my pocket knife to cut it off, but it just fell into my hand.

I pulled out my pocket knife but the pod just fell into my hand.

There were precious few pods hanging in the tree...then I looked down and found lots of them on the ground already.

There were precious few pods hanging in the tree…then I looked down and found lots of them on the ground already.

November 12...I picked up as many seed pods as my bag would hold wondering what people thought of me walking with a very full doggy bag.

November 12…I picked up as many seed pods as my bag would hold wondering what people thought of me walking with a very full doggy bag.

November 12...Hoping to get the seeds to pop out, I pulled the pod open...but where are the seeds?

Hoping to get the seeds to pop out, I pulled the pod open…but where are the seeds?

Are these the seeds?  I'll try planting these in the spring, but if they don't grow, I can always plant a Tulip tree twig.

Are these the seeds? I’ll try planting these in the spring, but if they don’t grow, I can always plant a Tulip tree twig.  (See gregmcswain1’s comment below)

 

I was struck by how similar the Tulip tree seed pods were to my backyard spruce tree 'pine cones.'

I was struck at how similar the Tulip tree seed pods were to my backyard spruce tree cones.    Deciduous on the left, conifer on the right.

I couldn't get enough of the colorful leaves, so I just pointed the camera upward for one more shot before leaving.

I couldn’t get enough of the colorful leaves, so I just pointed the camera upward for one more shot before leafing leaving.

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October 13...Tulip tree is still holding on, but more colored leaves can be seen.

October 13…Tulip tree is still holding on, but more colored leaves can be seen.  The sun is lower on the horizon as can be seen by the shadow on the left side.

The blue sky is disappearing tomorrow for a while.  It's been so good to get sunshine this late in the season, but that's coming to an end soon.

The blue sky is disappearing tomorrow for a while. It’s been so good to get sunshine this late in the season, but that’s coming to an end soon.

These leaves are starting to lose their chlorophyll enabling the other colors to be visible.

These leaves are starting to lose their chlorophyll enabling the other colors to be visible.

Why do leaves change color in the autumn?

According to Garden at School, “Basically, leaves are made up of several components that affect their color.  Chlorophyll is the part of the leaf that gives it its green color, and its presence is so strong that it can cover up the color of the other components of the leaf. In the fall, trees sense that the days are becoming shorter and the weather is cooler.  As a result, it stops sending up water and energy to the leaves and so the chlorophyll dies.  Once the chlorophyll is gone, the other colors can shine through.”

A few leaves have dropped.  Not enough to rake up yet, but it won't be too long.  I'm actually looking forward to getting this valuable treasure for my garden.

A few leaves have dropped. Not enough to rake up yet, but it won’t be too long. I’m actually looking forward to getting this valuable treasure for my garden.

I've been 'following' this seed pod trying to be there when it opens.  I'm beginning to doubt that it will open.  If it does, I'd like to plant the seeds just for fun.

I’ve been ‘following’ this seed pod trying to be there when it opens. I’m beginning to doubt that it will open.  But if it does, I’d like to plant the seeds just for fun.

New leaves are still forming, so this tree is not ready to call it quits just yet.

New leaves are still forming, so this tree is not ready to call it quits just yet.

 

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September 10, 2014...Tulip tree is starting to turn color.

September 10, 2014…Tulip tree is starting to turn color.

Yep, they are definitely changing color.

Yep, the leaves are definitely changing color. According to Portland (OR) Parks and Recreation, fall foliage color is gold-yellow.  Featured is  a tulip tree that was planted in the 1890s.

Looking up into the umbrella, even those leaves are yellowing.

Looking up into the umbrella, even these leaves are yellowing.    A member of the Magnoliaceae family, these trees are native in the US, east of the Mississippi.  The record height is 200 feet (61 meters), but many grow to over 100 feet.

The seed pod is just starting to show a little browning on the tips.  I never noticed the seed pods before because they are hidden in the foliage,  but because of this "tree following" project, I'm pushing leaves out of the way to find them.  Luckily, the pods are within reach.

The seed pod is just starting to show a little browning on the tips. I never noticed the seed pods before because they are hidden in the foliage, but because of this “tree following” project, I’m pushing leaves out of the way to find them. Luckily, the pods are within reach.

 

According to Wikipedia… “The soft, fine-grained wood of tulip trees is known as “poplar” (short for “yellow poplar”) in the U.S., but marketed abroad as “American tulipwood” or by other names. It is very widely used where a cheap, easy-to-work and stable wood is needed. The sapwood is usually a creamy off-white color. While the heartwood is usually a pale green, it can take on streaks of red, purple, or even black; depending on the extractives content (i.e. the soil conditions where the tree was grown, etc.). It is clearly the wood of choice for use in organs, due to its ability to take a fine, smooth, precisely cut finish and so to effectively seal against pipes and valves. It is also commonly used for siding clapboards. Its wood may be compared in texture, strength, and softness to white pine.

Used for interior finish of houses, for siding, for panels of carriages, for coffin boxes, pattern timber, and wooden ware. During scarcity of the better qualities of white pine, tulip wood has taken its place to some extent, particularly when very wide boards are required.[3]

It also has a reputation for being resistant to termites, and in the Upland South (and perhaps elsewhere) house and barn sills were often made of tulip poplar beams.”

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August 11, 2014...The Tulip Tree is still going strong.

August 11, 2014…The Tulip Tree is still going strong, but is it possible some of the leaves are turning yellow?

According to an article in The Washington Post a long dry spell can cause the Tulip trees to shut down some of their leaves, which makes them turn a bright yellow.  I’m not sure that we are seeing the beginnings of yellow leaves, but we have come through a long dry spell.

I read on the web sites that people love their Tulip Trees, EXCEPT when they rain sap.  “Do not park your cars under a Tulip tree,” and yet I didn’t see much sap on the ground.  Maybe the trees in the Pacific Northwest are better behaved. 🙂

August 11, 2014...baby leaves are still being produced.

August 11, 2014…baby leaves are still being produced.

 

6 seed against sky

7 smallish leaf

Seed pod

We are going to have to wait at least another month before we see the inside of the seed pod.  This one is still green.

I recently picked up a book by Daniel Chamovitz, “What A Plant Knows.”  In the first chapter he writes, “Plants see if you come near them;  they know when you stand over them.  They even know if you’re wearing a blue or red shirt.”  I wonder if the Tulip tree sees me coming by occasionally to see what’s happening?

 

 

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