MAGNOLIACEAE, The Magnolia family
With such high branches, it’s not easy to enjoy the flowers of the tulip tree. On my way home from the studio this evening I saw a lot of the green and bright orange blooms scattered on the ground and hopped off my bike to have a look. Evidently, squirrels had been biting off the flowers and buds. I found a few nearly intact ones to bring home to look at more closely. (Since recent botanizing with Anne I am inspired to ‘nature journal’.)
I like how the flowers are tulip-like and the leafs are also shaped like a tulip, only in profile. They are actually not at all related to tulips which are in the lily family, but are close relatives of the magnolia. Another common name is yellow poplar, but they are also not poplars.
Tulips trees remind me of Laura, a Tuscan woman I interned with at Kew, because on the day we met as we were walking through the garden chatting, she interrupted herself to exclaim, ‘Ah! Liriodendron!’ when we came upon a huge Tulip tree in full bloom. And I began to understand the beauty of international scientific language.