The Society of Municipal Arborists has announced it's Urban Tree of the Year, and this year the award goes to the Tulip Tree, Liriodendron tulipifera.
It's not for the average suburban yard, but where there's a lot of room, this majestic native tree deserves consideration.
It's fast growing, reaches a height of 60 to 90 feet with a spread 30 to 50 feet and is named for its striking flowers, which are reminiscent of tulips. The tree's distinctive leaves, 3 to 8 inches long and wide, turn a golden yellow in fall.
The Tulip Tree was nominated by Jocelyn Knerr, assistant forester in Dublin Ohio. Knerr noted that the tree is good for wildlife and is a resident favorite because of the "attractive leaf shape and flowers as well as its bright yellow fall color."
Tulip tree can tolerate partial sun, and occasionally wet soils, but it does not tolerate drought or salt. Liriodendron comes from Greek, meaning "Lily Tree," and tulipifera is Latin for tulip-bearing.
There are a number of cultivars, including 'Ardis', at about 30 feet high, and 'Fastigiatum' at about 50-60' high and 15-20' wide.
The Society of Municipal Arborists said it recognized the underutilized and attractive tree for its "service to urban forests" and encourages its use "as part of a diverse urban tree inventory."