Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Years ago, I met a man who did not believe there were Tulip Trees; snorted at the very idea. I remember staring at him in disbelief. It was like saying he did not believe in Maples or Oaks or trees even. I could not get my head around it. If he had never seen one, then I was making them up. He huffed through his whiskers, muttering about tulips on trees. We had been having a spirited conversation about morels. I merely mentioned that I had heard that morels loved Tulip Trees and to make sure to look around their base. He wandered off shaking his head. I did not realize what a narrow range the trees had.
Years later, I had a house guest that had never heard of Tulip Trees either. But as luck would have it, he was visiting at a time when they were blooming. On a walk in the woods, we came across a perfect tulip blossom lying on the path where it had fallen in the night. The smile of delight on his face as he turned the flower in his hands; then looked up at the towering tree was truly a sight to behold.
I will always remember both of these fellows when I see the flowers of a Tulip Tree.
Tulip Trees are in the magnolia family. They can grow to staggering heights, have beautiful straight trunks, and look like Greek columns standing in an emerald glade. It is the tallest and one of the largest trees in the woods. I love the "gentleman of the forest". They usually produce their first flowers when they are 15 to 20 years old and may continue blooming for 200 years. 200 years! The flowers bloom from April to June and last from 2 to 6 weeks at a time. They are blooming now. So when you are out, make sure to look up.
Make sure to check out Festival of the Trees, Edition 36 is up at Roundrock Journal.