Landowner Fact Sheets

yellow-poplar Liriodendron tulipifera play

Yellow-poplar is a tall, fast growing, beautiful deciduous tree of eastern forests. Its name is a misnomer: it is not a poplar but a a relative of the magnolias. Yellow-poplar is valued for its soft, versatile wood, and typically straight, limb-free trunk.

range map Click to see more images. fall color wood grain

Clearcut and seed-tree methods work best to exploit yellow-poplar's fast growth and full-sun preference. Shelterwoods and group selections also work, but growth of saplings is compromised.

Yellow-poplar is very site-sensitive, and growth is very much reduced on poor sites. It is only found on the best sites throughout its range.


In a forest, a large tree with a long, straight limb-free bole very often reaching over 100 feet tall. Open-grown trees have a pyramidal crown when young, becoming oval in shape with time.

Timber Value
Yellow-poplar wood is used for furniture, cabinets, veneer, plywood, and pulpwood.

Wildlife Value
The seeds are eaten by various species. Yellow-bellied sapsucker feeds on phloem tissue. Ruby- throated hummingbird consumes nectar from the flowers.
Attracts northern bobwhites, purple finch, cottontail rabbits, gray squirrels, mice

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
Yellow-poplar is tallest hardwood in North America. The tree's tulip-shaped greenish-yellow and orange striped flowers are very attractive and worth a second look. The wood is used for veneer-based engineered wood products and interior bracing for furniture. There are also local cottage industries that make shingles and siding from the bark. It is also a high nectar yielding honey tree.

Latin Meaning
Liriodendron: Greek "leiron" (lily) and "dendron" (tree) / tulipifera: tulip-bearing

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.