Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the black tree maintenance tags, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Magnoliaceae
Liriodendron tulipifera L.
Tulip tree

Black tag 120
54o 34.934N
5o 56.054W

This fast-growing North American forest tree can reach 165 ft (50m ) - the Belfast specimen certainly seemed to be heading that way. It is a member of the Magnolia family, one of the most primitive groups of flowering plants. The flowers are tulip-shaped and usually yellow with a tinge of pink. The distinctive leaves look as if their ends have been cut off. The wood is fine-grained, easily worked and was much used in late Victorian times for the structural parts of wardrobes, chests-of drawers, etc. The soft nature of the wood, however, makes it a favourite diet of woodworm.

The Belfast Botanic Gardens had a fine specimen of the tulip tree, situated just beside the entrance to the Tropical Ravine. This spectacular specimen, illustrated below, eventually had to be removed in 2015, alas, as it was damaging the structure of the Tropical Ravine. A new tulip tree has been planted nearby. The tag number and location above relate to the new tree which was planted to honour the retirement of Reg Maxwell, head of the Botanic Gardens.

Liriodendron tulipifera by Tropical Ravine Belfast Botanic Gardens Liriodendron tulipifera leaves

Original tulip tree close to wall of Tropical Ravine

Leaves of tulip tree

Liriodendron tulipifera flower

Liriodendron tulipifera flower

flowers of tulip tree

flowers of tulip tree

planting of tulip tree

tulip tree in 2022

Planting of the new tulip tree by Reg Maxwell in 2018

The young tree developing well in 2022

for further information about the tulip tree see the wikipedia article -

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in July 2007. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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