Common Names: Poplar, Yellow Poplar,Tulip Poplar

Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera

Origin: Eastern United States

Tree Size: 130-160 ft (40-50 m) tall, 6-8 ft (1.8-2.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 29 lbs/ft3 (455 kg/m3)

 

Color & Appearance:

Poplar heartwood is light cream to yellow-brown in color, with occasional streaks of green and grey. The sapwood is pale yellow-to-white and often not clearly defined from the heartwood. Poplar wood can be found in mineral-stained colors that range from dark purple to red, green, and yellow; this type is often referred to as “Rainbow Poplar.” Wood colors can darken when exposed to light.

Grain & Texture:

Poplar usually has a straight and uniform grain, with medium texture and a dull natural luster

Endgrain

In Poplar, endgrain is diffuse and porous with randomized little pores. It is solitary with radial multiples of 2-3 and tyloses at times present. Growth rings are distinct because of borderline parenchyma and noded rays that are invisible without lens; the wood is parenchyma banded marginal.

Rot Resistance:

Heartwood is evaluated as moderately durable to non-durable and is vulnerable to insect attack.

Workability:

Poplar is very easy to work in all ways, but a downside is the softness of it. Because of low density, the wood may leave fuzzy edges or surfaces during sanding or shaping. Sanding with finely gritted sandpaper may be required to get a smooth surface.

Odor:

Poplar has no characteristic odor.

Allergies and Toxicity:

: Although severe reactions are very uncommon, Poplar wood has been reported to be an irritant; most reported reactions include skin, eye, or respiratory irritations, or asthma-like symptoms.

Pricing & Availability:

: Poplar is one of the most inexpensive and economical of domestic hardwoods and so should be affordably priced, especially in the Eastern USA where it mostly grows.

Sustainability:

This species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses:

Poplar is seldom used for looks, other than Rainbow Poplar, and is a utility wood in every sense. This wood is used for crates, pallets upholstered furniture, frames, pulpwood, and plywood. Poplar veneer is often useful for a range of applications. It can be dyed in numerous colors or used for undersides of veneered panels to counter the pull of glue on exposed sides veneered with ornamental species of wood.

Remarks:

Poplar is considered one of the most common utility hardwoods in the USA. Although this wood is usually referred to as “Poplar,” it is not classified in the Populus genus, which includes species of Cottonwood and Aspen. Poplar is listed in the Liriodendron genus, Latin for “lily tree,” the flowers of which appear similar to tulips, (therefore the common alternate name of “Tulip Poplar”).

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