The tall symmetrical cones of light golden yellow foliage that puctuate the red, browns, and greens of many fall hillsides of the southern Appalachians are Tulip Poplars. This species has one of the most distinctive leaves of any of our trees, 8-20 cm (3-8") long or wide and broadly notched at the apex.
The light, winged fruits shed from the woody, cup-shaped "cones" are spread by the wind and are thus often the first seeds to reach any site that has been cleared. When the Chestnuts died from the blight half century ago, Tulip Poplars "moved in" and now form large, even-aged stands where Chestnuts once grew. The tall, straight trees are very valuable for plywood, furniture, and lumber, and the large flowers are prime nectar source for the honey-bee.
compiled from "Fall Colors & Woodland Harvests" & "Fall Color Finder" by Laurel Hill Press
© 1999 NCNatural
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