State Tree of INDIANA
Yellow poplar... tulip poplar... tulipwood... canoewood... all of these have been used as names for the tuliptree, Indiana's state tree. A member of the magnolia family, the tuliptree matures quickly and commonly reaches a height of 100 feet or more. With its very straight trunk measuring 2 to 4 feet in diameter, tulipree is a valued timber species as well as being a forest giant.
When young Abe Lincoln took his ax and squared a log for a cabin beam, chances are the log came from a tuliptree. The tuliptree's abundance in Indiana and the qualities of its wood made it a popular choice for log cabin construction. Because of the trees size and relatively light weight, many frontiersmen including Daniel Boone used tulip wood to build canoes.
While the tuliptree and its wood had significant impact on Indiana's settlement and development, it was the tree's flower that first caught the state legislature's attention. It was named Indiana's state flower in 1923. Later in 1931, tuilptree was designated as Indiana's state tree and the zinnia became the state flower.
The trees' compact pyramidal crown tapers sharply at the top and often protrudes through the forest canopy. Leaves of the tulip tree are distinctive, 5 to 6 inches with 4 large lobes.
They are bright green in summer, turning canary yellow in the fall. The tree's flowers reveal how it got its name. They appear in summer as large, tulip-like yellow flowers with orange ba
nds near their centers. flowers give way to cone-like fruit i
n the fall, providing a bounty of seed for finches, cardinals, rabbits, squirrels and of course, the next generation of trees.
Wood from the tuliptree is light in both weight and color.
It is easily worked and used to make interior and exterior trim, furniture and cabinets.