Pretty Ugly

A bloom from Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Poplar), ubiquitous in Central Virginia. Actually a member of the magnolia family (Magnoliaceae) – not a true Poplar – but not to be confused with Tulip Magnolia. The bloom is pretty because of the brightness of it’s color… the contrast of cream, chartreuse & orange – exceptional among native American hardwoods. The colorful base helps guide bees and hummingbirds to nectar. Ugly because of the creepy filaments. Strange because the blooms are 80 feet up in the tree, only to be seen by giants, or when the blooms crash to earth – and by then usually past prime.

Rare ground-level view of Liriodendron tulipifera bloom.
The sculptural form makes a statement even in moonlight.
The orange accent helps guide bees and hummingbirds.

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