Tulip Poplar Liriodendron tulipiferia Cherokee: tsi yu
The Cherokee had a wide range of uses for the tulip Poplar. This
tree can get very tall with huge trunks. Tulip shaped flowers (yellow) form in the top of the tree in the the spring because that is where the majority of the leaves are located. Often times you will not realize the tree is blooming until you see the blossoms dropping on the ground beneath the tree.
The leaves were prepared as a poultice for sores and to make an ointment to apply topically for inflammation. The leaf buds were crushed and used as a salve for burns and an infusion for arthritis.
Large sections of the trunk were used to construct canoes. As you can see from the photo, the tree grows perfectly straight without lower branches, making it perfect for a strong canoe. The making of a canoe was labor intensive and time consuming. First a hollow would be created by chipping away of the wood then they would use the burn and scrap technique to remove the center core of the tree. This happen over and over again until the cavity was large enough for a warrior and his supplies.
The Tulip Poplar can grow to well over 100 feet tall. The one in the photo is in my lower garden and the trunk is over nine feet in circumference. The Monarch Butterflies lay their eggs in the top of the Tulip Poplar.
The Tulip Poplar is the state tree of Tennessee and is in the Magnolia family.