What tulip trees look like

Size and shape

  • Large, fast-growing tree.
  • Reaches 25 to 35 metres in height.
  • Trunk reaches 50 to 160 centimetres in diameter.


  • Light green leaves that turn yellow in the fall.
  • 7 to 12 centimetres long.
  • Flat across the top with 4 pointed lobes along the bottom.


  • Bark is smooth and dark green on young trees.
  • Bark on mature trees is brown and has ridges.


  • Yellow-green and orange flowers.
  • About 5 centimetres long.
  • 6 petals that are shaped and arranged like tulip flowers.
  • Bloom in spring.


  • Cone shaped fruit contain many seeds.
  • Seeds are winged.

Where tulip trees are found

Tulip trees grow in only a few areas of Southern Ontario — along the south shore of Lake Huron, along the north shore of Lake Erie and in the Niagara Peninsula.

What you need to know to grow tulip trees

  • Moisture: need a lot of moisture during summer.
  • Soil: grow best in sand and sandy loam.
  • Shade: need full sun.
  • Cautions: tulip trees need deep, rich, moist soil. They are fast-growing with roots that grow deep and spread widely.

Benefits and uses of tulip trees

Wildlife benefits

Tulip tree seeds are a food source for birds and small mammals.

Commercial uses

The wood from tulip trees is used for:

  • furniture, including cabinets
  • veneer
  • caskets
  • pulp

Fun facts about tulip trees

  • Tulip trees are named for their tulip-shaped flowers.
  • Tulip trees begin flowering after they are 15 years old.
  • This species is fast-growing and, under ideal conditions, long-lived.