Tulip Poplar

GENUS: LIRIODENDRON

Tulip trees are not actually part of the poplar genus, but their wood is very similar. They have showy, fragrant flowers, white with orange, that hide amongst tulip-shaped leaves in spring.

Tulip Poplar

 

Characteristics

Color / Appearance

Heartwood is light cream to yellowish brown, with occasional streaks of gray or green. Sapwood is pale yellow to white, not always clearly demarcated from the heartwood. Can also be seen in mineral stained colors ranging from dark purple to red, green, or yellow, sometimes referred to as rainbow poplar. Colors tend to darken upon exposure to light.

Grain / Texture

Typically has a straight, uniform grain, with a medium texture. Low natural luster.

Workability

Very easy to work in almost all regards, one of its only downsides is its softness. Due to its low density, it can sometimes leave fuzzy surfaces and edges, especially during shaping or sanding. Sanding to finer grits of sandpaper may be necessary to obtain a smooth surface.

Common Uses

Seldom used for its appearance except in the case of rainbow poplar, this wood is a utility wood in nearly every sense. It’s used for pallets, crates, upholstered  furniture frames, paper (pulpwood), and plywood. Poplar veneer is also used for a variety of applications, either dyed in various colors, or on hidden undersides of veneered panels to counteract the pull of the glue on an exposed side that has been veneered with another more decorative wood species.

Characteristics and photo used by permission from The Wood Database

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