What’s Liriodendron?

A riddle:

There is a plant, the leaves are like geese feet, flowers are like tulips. What do you think it is?

The answer is Liriodendron.

What’s Liriodendron

Liriodendron is a genus of two species of characteristically large deciduous trees in the magnolia family (Magnoliaceae). These trees are widely known by the common name tulip tree or tuliptree for their large flowers superficially resembling tulips, but are closely related to magnolias rather than lilies, the plant family to which true tulips belong.

Two species of Liriodendron are known extant. Liriodendron tulipifera is native to eastern North America, while Liriodendron chinense is native to China and Vietnam. Both species often grow to great size, sometimes exceeding 32 m or 100 feet in height. The American species is commonly used horticulturally, and hybrids have been produced between these two allopatrically distributed species.

The wood of Liriodendron is fine grained and stable. It is easy to work and commonly used for cabinet and furniture framing, i.e. internal structural members and sub-surfaces for veneering.

Their roots, barks, leaves and seeds can be used as medicines, can be used for getting rid of rheumatoid arthritis.

Various extinct species of Liriodendron have been described from the fossil record.

A latest research shows, in a paper published in Nature Plants, collaborated by Nanjing Forestry University, BGI and other units, that genome of Liriodendron, which are the first de novo genome assembly of a plant in the Magnoliaceae, Liriodendron Chinese. Phylogenetic analyses was performed at whole genome-wide level to illuminate the evolutionary trajectories of magnoliids——magnoliids are sister to the clade consisting of eudicots and monocots. It is determined the phylogenetic relationship of magnoliids and angiosperm phylogeny. Population genetic structure analysis was also performed to cofirm the genetic diversity between Liriodendron chinense and Liriodendron tulipifera.   

Reference: Jinhui Chen etc. Liriodendron genome sheds light on angiosperm phylogeny and species–pair differentiation. Nature plant. 2018.