State Tree Of Kentucky

State Tree Of Kentucky

Tulip Poplar Is The Official State Tree Of Kentucky. The Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron Tulipifera) was Adopted As The Official State Tree of Kentucky in 1994. The controversy over Kentucky State Tree brewed for more than 40 years before being decided in 1994. Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron Tulipifera), also called yellow poplar, tulip tree, or canoe tree because Native Americans used it to make dugout canoes. The State Tree Of Kentucky tulip poplar is not actually a poplar tree, It is a member of the magnolia family. The leaf of tulip poplar has a unique, distinct shape (it appears in the border of the Indiana state seal), and produces huge, bell-shaped greenish-yellow with orange flowers in the spring.

Kentucky State Tree Tulip poplar is one of the tallest of the native American hardwoods. Tuliptree grows 80 to 100 feet tall and maintains a fairly narrow oval crown, even as it grows older. The largest Tulip Poplar trees in the east are in the Joyce Kilmer Forest in NC, some of them reaching more than 150 feet with seven-foot diameter trunks. The scented, State Tree Of Kentucky tulip-like, greenish-yellow flowers appear in mid-spring but are not as ornamental as those of other flowering trees because they are far from view.

The Kentucky State Tree has winter features including duck’s bill-shaped buds and furrowed bark. It also offers striking flowers in May and June. Leaves emerge folded and yellow and become green with age. They turn a clear yellow in autumn. State Tree Of Kentucky Tulip poplar thrives in deep, rich, well-drained but moist soil and full sun. It is pH adaptable but performs best in soil that is slightly acidic. This tree is sensitive to drought and may require summer irrigation to prevent early leaf abscission. It should be transplanted balled-and-burlapped in spring.





A tall, deciduous, long-lived, broadleaf tree, tulip poplar has a straight trunk with vertically-furrowed bark. Its leaves are light green and deeply lobed. Its flower resembles a green tulip in size and shape. Flowers are greenish-yellow with an orange splotch near the base of each petal. The tree’s cone-like seed cluster breaks into winged seeds.

Height: up to 200 ft (61 m)

Diameter: up to 10 ft (3 m)

Bark: brown with vertical grooves

Seed: narrow, light-brown cones

Leaves: heart-shaped with 4 lobes, 5-6 in (13-15 cm) long and wide


This is a fast-growing tree and may reach 300 years of age in the right climate and soil.


Tulip poplar prefers a temperate climate. It grows well in moist locations with the sun or partial shade, such as those along streams or in deep cove forests of the Appalachian Mountains. In such areas, it can be very tall and form an important component of mixed deciduous forests. It shares its habitat with a variety of pines, oaks, bald cypress, Tupelo, white ash, American beech, black walnut, and hickory.


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