Also commonly referred to as the yellow poplar, tulip poplar or tulip-tree. It is Indiana's state tree and flourishes all over the state.
Bark: Poplar is one of the tallest eastern hardwoods and has a very straight trunk. Its bark is thin and grey with a white color in the fissures. The fissures become deeper and more furrowed as the tree matures. The bark darkens to a brown with very little white in the grooves like a young tree has.
Leaves: This tree tree has very unique leaves, which have 4 rounded lobes. The top of the leaf looks like it's been cut off, causing the shape to stand out against leaves on other trees. The leaves are a shiny green that turn into a vivid yellow, hence the name yellow poplar.
Fruit: The leaves grow a yellow tulip-like flower in May. This is a very distinctive flower with an orange ring around the base of the petals. When there are no flowers, you can find green or brown buds that are about 1 in long and resemble a duck's bill.
We rate poplar trees as a first class tree based on its current demand in markets. Its high commercial value is due to its versatility and use in furniture, cabinetry, interior finish and construction. The wood itself is yellow-green with fine grains that is easily worked.
Tulip-trees have a dense shade and are relatively insect-free. The tulip-tree is one of the tallest growing trees in North America. Their leaves turn a beautiful golden color in the fall. The straight narrow trunk, which is great for making lumber, can also create a very unique landscaping look.
Benefit to Forest:
It is valued as a honey-tree and is a source of food for wildlife. Birds, specifically purple finches, feed on the seeds along with small rodents. Gray squirrels eat the cone-like buds that grow on the tree in late summer.