Tulip tree – Liriodendron tulipifera

Generality

The tulip, also called lilyodendron, belongs to the family Magnoliaceae, to the genus Liriodendron and to the species tulip. It is a large, medium-growing tree, over 30 m tall, with a pyramidal crown in young plants that tends to become oval, compact, irregular and over 10 m wide in adult specimens. ; the roots are taproots, however, in addition to being deep, they also grow a lot laterally. The stem is erect, branched and can reach 3 m in diameter, the bark in the first stages of development is smooth and of a gray color tending towards green, while in adult trees it turns brown and presents obvious longitudinal cracks. The leaves are deciduous, alternate, with a characteristic square shape, 10-13 cm long and wide, with a long petiole, soft, shiny green at the top of the page, lighter at the bottom; in autumn, before falling, the leaves take on a golden yellow color. The leaf in the apical part is divided into 4 shallow, pointed, webbed lobes. The flowers are hermaphroditic, large, solitary, greenish yellow with orange reflections, 4-5 cm long, erect, cupped, recalling those of the tulips, and located at the terminal part of the branches; flowering takes place at the beginning of summer, pollination is entomophilous. The fruits are narrow, similar to pineapples, up to 7 cm long, formed by numerous samaras that contain the seeds that ripen in autumn and fall to the ground. The wood is differentiated, soft, yellowish in color, resistant to woodworm, used in cabinet making, for musical instruments, furniture, plywood and packaging. light green at the top of the page, lighter at the bottom; in autumn, before falling, the leaves take on a golden yellow color. The leaf in the apical part is divided into 4 shallow, pointed, webbed lobes. The flowers are hermaphroditic, large, solitary, greenish yellow with orange reflections, 4-5 cm long, erect, cupped, recalling those of the tulips, and located at the terminal part of the branches; flowering takes place at the beginning of summer, pollination is entomophilous. The fruits are narrow, similar to pineapples, up to 7 cm long, formed by numerous samaras that contain the seeds that ripen in autumn and fall to the ground. The wood is differentiated, soft, yellowish in color, resistant to woodworm, used in cabinet making, for musical instruments, furniture, plywood and packaging. light green at the top of the page, lighter at the bottom; in autumn, before falling, the leaves take on a golden yellow color. The leaf in the apical part is divided into 4 shallow, pointed, webbed lobes. The flowers are hermaphroditic, large, solitary, greenish yellow with orange reflections, 4-5 cm long, erect, cupped, recalling those of the tulips, and located at the terminal part of the branches; flowering takes place at the beginning of summer, pollination is entomophilous. The fruits are narrow, similar to pineapples, up to 7 cm long, formed by numerous samaras that contain the seeds that ripen in autumn and fall to the ground. The wood is differentiated, soft, yellowish in color, resistant to woodworm, used in cabinet making, for musical instruments, furniture, plywood and packaging.

Climate and relief

The tulip prefers temperate climates, but it is also able to adapt to cold climates characterized by very harsh winters because it resists thermal values ​​of several degrees below zero, while it is better to avoid hot climates because it fear high summer temperatures.

Best exposures are fully sunny environments, but it also does well in partially shaded areas, while not tolerating full shade. The Liriodendron prefers cool, moist, deep, medium-textured, sub-acid, well-drained soils with a good organic matter content, it also adapts to moderately calcareous soils, while it does not like those that are too compact despite stagnant water. . This species is native to the eastern states of North America, it is currently present in Australia, South America, South Africa and Europe to Norway.

Variety

Liriodendron cultivars can be distinguished from each other by leaf color and size, flowering age, habit and plant size. The main varieties are Aureomarginatum, characterized by an oval crown, with slow development, by leaves colored yellow on the margin and bluish green below, Arnold and Fastigatum, with a pyramidal habit, height not exceeding 15 m and flowering early, Áridos and Poco Voluntary, with small leaves and slightly pronounced lobes, Mediopictum, with a yellow spot in the center of the leaf, Leuchantum, characterized by white flowers.

The tulip is propagated by seed, cuttings and grafting. The seeds should be stored in the refrigerator for at least 15 days in a layer of sand to meet the needs of post-dormancy vernalization, sowing is done in autumn or early spring.

Propagation by seed gives rise to plants very different from each other. Therefore, once planted, they can be grafted with the desired cultivar, also to ensure that they anticipate flowering, which in specimens obtained from seed occurs after more than 10 years. .

Propagation by cuttings consists of taking portions of twigs and placing them by rooting them in a substrate composed of sand and peat in equal parts. Once rooted, the seedlings are ready for transplanting.

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