Updated: May 17
One of the largest nectar producers in the Southeast United States. This tree is incredibly valuable for pollinators during the second half of spring. This tree also makes incredible tasty honey.
THE TULIP POPLAR TREE
The wood itself is relatively soft with a white sapwood and yellow heartwood that ages to green. Slow grown old growth heartwood aged to a deep forest green. Tulip Poplar lumber is used as a secondary wood in fine furniture and as a primary wood in painted furniture, millwork and cabinets. It is regularly used as the frame stock for upholstered furniture. The wood is easy to work and readily available.
The Tulip Poplar took advantage of a portion of the void in the eastern forest left by the loss of the American Chestnut. This tree favors the lower and middle slopes of hillsides as well as bottom lands. Oaks filled the upper hillsides and ridge tops.
The Tulip Poplar will begin to bloom at 10 to 12 years of age. The flowers are large tulip like flowers with large greenish yellow petals surrounding a golden yellow center. Beekeepers know these large flowers contain a tablespoon of nectar each. Bees love Tulip Poplar flowers for this nectar and the abundance of pollen in each of the thousands of flowers. Enough honey can be produced during the bloom to make “Poplar Honey”, a rich, strong, dark colored honey favored by many. Bakers particularly like Poplar honey for its ability to hold up to cooking.
IT IS ACTUALLY A MEMEBER OF THE MAGNOLIA FAMILY
The Tulip Poplar, or Lirodendron tulipfera as it is formerly known as, is a giant of the eastern forest and the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. This member of the Magnolia family is known by many local names such as, Yellow Poplar, Poplar, Tulip Tree, Tulip Wood, Tulip magnolia, and Whitewood. Yellow Poplar is an important timber tree soaring easily to 100 feet or more under prime conditions. The Yellow Poplar grows quickly and sheds lower limbs at a young age leaving a smooth trunk, often for the lower third or even half its height.
From Bud to Fully Open Tulip Poplar Flower
PLANTING A SOURWOOD TREE
Tulip Poplar is a giant in the forest and for the Bees. This large, fast growing tree is covered with large, nectar filled flowers each May. Tulip Poplar is a hearty, healthy tree, beautiful tree, perfect for a large yard or farm. Tulip Poplar is hardy in zones 4 to 9. A common tree found at your local nursery but our favorite is Rock Bridges Trees. Not only do they ship Tulip Poplar Trees, they also have an entire section of Trees for Bees on their website. We have purchased and planted many trees from them and the experience was fantastic.