Tulip tree flowers

Catherine Boston

The tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, is often called a tulip poplar or yellow poplar.  It is, in fact, a member of the magnolia family and not a  poplar.  It is another of the easy to identify trees that grow at Ivy Creek, particularly this time of year when it's unmistakable "tulip" flowers are blooming.  But even without these showy flowers a tuliptree is recognizable by its tall, straight trunk and it's large leaves.  Children love to see the shape of the leaves--which when turned upside down look remarkably like a person's shirt.   Our beekeeper, Karen Hall, who has been maintaining the demonstration beehive at Ivy Creek for over 17 years, tells me that the flowers we are starting to see now are a major source of food for honeybees in Virginia.  Honeybees are crucial to our food supplies so be thankful for those "poplars".  

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