populus leaves

Aspen, Tulip Poplar, White Poplar, Eastern Cottonwood

I think it’s dumb when trees are named in a misleading fashion. For example, the Tulip Poplar, aka Yellow Poplar, aka Tulip Tree. Don’t get me wrong, this is a splendid tree, but it is an imposter. Looking at it’s scientific name Liriodendron tulipifera it’s obviously not even in the Poplar family, such as the White Poplar (Populus Alba).

Poplars also include Quaking Aspens (Populus tremuloides) and Eastern Cottonwoods (Populus deltoides)… and while I think it would make sense to just call them all various Poplars, at least they aren’t named after a genus that is a different and completely unrelated tree family.

Even if you don’t know the scientific name, the shape of the leaves alone give some indication that it’s unrelated to Poplars. Poplar leaves are generally spade shaped with teeth, where the tulip poplar has no teeth and has a very unusual notched palm shape. In fact, I am not sure what the Tulip Poplar IS related to, if anything. It’s just a weird tree. Cool, but weird. Not unlike myself!