This American native is displaying its distinct flowers in beside the East Walk.
In its native homeland in the north and eastern United States, Liriodendron tulipifera can grow to almost 60m. It is a distinct tree with saddle-shaped foliage, and cup-shaped flowers. These are a whitish-green in colour, and have an orange-yellow central spot and a pronounced pistil surrounded by several stamens. There is debate about the origin of the common name ‘tulip tree’, with some considering that it refers to the leaf shape, which resembles a tulip in silhouette, though it is more likely to have been assigned in reference to the similarity of the flower to that of a tulip. The generic name Liriodendron comes from the Greek leirion, meaning lily, and dendron meaning tree. It’s exact date of introduction to British gardens is unknown, though it was probably introduced in the early 1600’s. The Garden also has a large Cambridgeshire champion tulip tree which can be found growing behind the Magnolias on the Lynch Walk.