The champion of the Arboretum’s first-ever Tournament of Trees is…the hybrid tulip tree! Liriodendron tulipifera x chinense is a unique hybrid of the American tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) and the Chinese tulip tree (L. chinense). Hybrid tulip tree was selected by popular vote, from a compelling raft of sixteen contestants in week one of the tournament.

Native to the eastern United States, L. tulipifera is called tuliptree, tulip poplar, and yellow poplar. On the other side of the globe, the other species, Chinese tuliptree (L. chinense), grows from central to southeastern China. Although the two species look much alike, they can be differentiated by their leaves (those from the Chinese species are more deeply lobed) and by their flowers (the inner tepals of the American species carry bright orange markings). Despite being separated for millions of years, they can be cross pollinated successfully. The hybrid tulip tree displays intermediate characteristics from its parent trees. A beautiful specimen accessioned by the Arboretum in 1981 grows on the Hunnewell Building lawn.

From “free” to “friend”…

Established in 1911 as the Bulletin of Popular Information, Arnoldia has long been a definitive forum for conversations about temperate woody plants and their landscapes. In 2022, we rolled out a new vision for the magazine as a vigorous forum for tales of plant exploration, behind-the-scenes glimpses of botanical research, and deep dives into the history of gardens, landscapes, and science. The new Arnoldia includes poetry, visual art, and literary essays, following the human imagination wherever it entangles with trees.

It takes resources to gather and nurture these new voices, and we depend on the support of our member-subscribers to make it possible. But membership means more: by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum, you help to keep our collection vibrant and our research and educational mission active. Through the pages of Arnoldia, you can take part in the life of this free-to-all landscape whether you live next door or an ocean away.

For more tree-entangled art, science, and writing, subscribe to Arnoldia by becoming a member of the Arnold Arboretum.