A tulip tree in the Westwoods area of Hamden is the Hamden Tree Commission’s Notable Tree for the month of February.
The tree, also known as the tulip poplar, is considered the tallest eastern hardwood tree. This specimen is 107 feet tall with a trunk circumference of 168 inches and an average canopy width of 95 feet.
This tree is notable not only for its size, but also for surviving last May’s tornado and this January’s ice storm which severely damaged many nearby trees. This picture of the tree was taken the morning after the ice storm when it still was covered with ice.
Its sturdiness comes from its axial dominance – the branches of the tulip tree grow upwards and lower branches are lost early, with growth invested in developing a strong, straight trunk and supporting its root system.
The tree’s name reflects its tulip-like flowers which are yellowish-green with an orange stripe at the base of each of its six petals. It is not related to tulips or poplars, however, and is in fact a member of the magnolia family. Its leaves are also unusual with a broad base, wide apex, and deeply constricted middle.
The tulip tree is considered a valuable lumber tree and has been the wood of choice for pipe organs, coffins, and the insides of fine furniture. Where available, it was the preferred tree of Native Americans for dugout canoes. Its size, recognizable pyramid shape, and dramatic yellow fall foliage make it a popular choice for many gardens.
If you would like to nominate a tree, please send its location and a few sentences describing the tree to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, address, email and phone number as well. Or you can mail your nomination to the Hamden Tree Commission care of the Mayor’s Office, Hamden Government Center, 2750 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518.