Field Notes: Tuliptrees bloom

The tuliptrees are blooming. Liriodendron tulipifera, also known as the yellow-popular, is one of the tallest tree in North America, and definitely in our area. These two blooms are from Elizabeth’s Tuliptree in Nelly’s Lawn in Prospect Park. I think this is the only named tree in the park. It’s been much battered, losing major limbs. The red-tail hawks who nest in a nearby pine often perch here (it looks like this pair of hawks have triplets this year, just like last year.)

Usually, the flowers are fairly high; in the woods, young tuliptrees shoot up fast toward the sunlight, their mitt-like leaves enormous. The result is often a very straight trunk.
Ants are often found in the flowers. The blooms have a delicate perfume that reminds me of something from my childhood, but I can’t place it. Perhaps a madeleine-flavor.

2 Responses to “Field Notes: Tuliptrees bloom”

  1. 1 auroramere June 1, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I love the tulipbearing Lilytree. The scent of the flowers is subtle, but I don’t think I’m entirely imagining it as a family scent of the Magnoliaceae, especially the yellow-flowered hybrids of M. acuminata, the cucumber tree. Their season is long over for this year, but ‘Elizabeth’ flowers smell like honeydew melon cuts and cucumbers. The BBG has lots of cultivars, and certainly ‘Elizabeth’; do you remember the scent?

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