Taxon

Liriodendron tulipifera

 
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Liriodendron tulipifera - Tulip Poplar, Jefferson's name: Poplar
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Common name: Tulip Poplar, Jefferson's name: Poplar
Family: Magnoliaceae (Magnolia)
Distribution: Eastern North America
Hardiness: USDA Zone 4
Life form: Deciduous tree
Usage: Ornamental, Timber
Comments: Jefferson described the tulip poplar as “the Juno of our Groves” when he forwarded seeds to a Parisian friend, Madame de Tessé, in 1805. Two years later he noted planting a young tree west of the house at Monticello. Researchers always "considered" the tree on the southwest side original to Jefferson's lifetime because of a Garden Book notation on April 16, 1807: “planted 1. Laurodendron in margin of S. W. shrub circle from the nursery.” A 120-foot tall specimen grew at Monticello in this general location until it was removed due to safety issues in 2008. However, with the lack of physical and documentary evidence, the tree's true age and status as an “original tree” will remain a mystery. The tulip poplar, also called yellow poplar and tulip tree, is both a majestic and graceful tree and is especially treasured in European parks and gardens, where it was first described in 1687. Its dramatic autumn color, ornamental blossoms, distinctive foliage, and quick growth lend this species its mythological glory.

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