Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
Liriodendron Tulipifera - Tulip Tree.
There are two main species of Liriodendon that both grow into very
large, deciduous trees, reaching up to some 60 metres. The Tulipifera
species is native to Eastern North America and Chinense, as its name
suggests, comes from China and Vietnam. They are closely related to
Magnolias and have some of their characteristics with their flowers
having the same spicy smell. The flowers have a Tulip shape to them
which of course gives rise to the Greek, Tulipifera part of their name.
After the greenish-yellow flowers open in May/June a profusion of seeds
are produced. New plants can easily be germinated from seed, but will
take more than 15 years before they will flower.
Not only are the Flowers very attractive on the Tulip Tree, but the
leaves put on a good show with their Autumn colour turning to yellows
and buttery browns. The leaves have an unusual shape to them as well
increasing their appeal. They look a little like a Maple Leaf with the
main point of the leaf cut off giving rise to another common name of
Fiddle Tree as they vaguely resemble the shape of the body of a Fiddle.
Tulip trees are both very common and popular in North America to the
extent that 3 States have adopted the tree as their State tree.
(Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.) However, because of their size they
are not to be recommended for any back garden and are only suitable for
the middle of a large field as a specimen tree, or perhaps in a large
estate somewhere. On the other hand Liriodendrons do Hybridise easily,
so it is perhaps only a matter of time before a smaller growing specimen
is produced and made available.
Most very fast growing trees don’t live very long, but this is not true
of Liriodendrons as they can live for between 2 and 3 hundred years, or
so. Also the Timber of many fast growing trees is weak and of little
use, but here again this is not true of Liriodendrons as their timber is
highly prized and much sought after in America as a good alternative for
Pine. It has a creamy colour and that gives rise to another common name
of “Whitewood.” The wood is easily worked and often used for making the
carcases of Furniture that is then veneered at a later stage of
production to give a superior finish to the pieces.
The wood has another excellent point in its favour for use in America
and that is, it is resistant to Termites. Indeed trees are generally
pest and disease free and quite easy to grow, although they don’t
tolerate drought, or on the other hand, water logged soil.
Trees do grow quickly in the right conditions and even though they have
deep and wide spreading roots the branches do not spread until the tree
is quite large. Indeed trunks can be true and straight and bare of
branches for some height. Indeed it is these straight and joint free
trunks that made them ideal for the Native Americans to make Dugout
Canoes in times gone by. This gave rise to another common name for the
tree of “Canoe-wood.”