Liriodendron tulipifera x chinense outside Hunnewell Building, 2018
Photograph by Larissa Glasser
Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
July 18, 2018
Michael Dirr describes this hybrid species in his seminal reference work Manual of Woody Landscape Plants:
Chinese Tuliptree, although listed in most references as smaller in habit (50′), the plants I have observed were terrifically fast-growing, and trees over 80′ were recorded. One plant in our evaluation grew 25′ high and 15′ wide in seven years from a 3.2′ high seedling. The leaves are larger and more deeply cut (sinused) above the lower lobes, i.e., akin to a narrow waist. New leaves rich bronze to red-purple. The rich green leaves turn brilliant yellow in Georgia. The buds are larger than those of L. tulipfera. A hybrid between L. chinense and L. tulipfera is known. I have observed plants at the Arnold Arboretum. Essentially intermediate in characteristics. China, Indochina. Introduced 1901 by E.H. Wilson. Estimate Zone 6 to 9 adaptability. Some thought that this had landscape potential but this did not happen. ‘J.C. Raulston’, with large leaves deeply indented at the sinus, and rather full canopy on a young, 15′ plant, appeared better than the species.
This particular specimen, accessioned in 1981, can be observed right as you enter the grounds at the Main Arboretum Gate.
The Hunnewell Building houses our Visitor Center, Lecture Hall, Library and Archives, and Herbarium. It was constructed in 1892 and fully renovated with improved accessibility and structural improvements in 1992. It is named in honor of Horatio Hollis Hunnewell (1810-1902), who was a major contributor to the institution. You can read more about H. H. Hunnewell and The Hunnewell Estates Historic District in Arnoldia [pdf].
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