Tree Information

Common Name: tulip-poplar

Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera

Native/Naturalized: Native to Virginia

Database ID: 2887

Status: alive

National Champion: yes

Virginia Champion: yes

Circumference: 362 in.

Height: 139 ft.

Crown: 78 ft.

Points: 521

Date Last Measured: 2021

Last Measured by: Eric Wiseman, Brendan Fitzgerald

Date First Measured: 2021

2021 Update: This tree was crowned sole national champion by American Forests in 2021.

An old-growth tree in a cove forest surrounded by secondary growth of sugar maple, basswood, hophornbeam, and spicebush. Numerous other tulip-poplars are in the stand, but none even come close to the size of this tree. It is apparent that the tree has been spared the axe numerous times over the generations, presumably due to its sheer size and the extensive cavity in its butt. There is also a large cavity in the trunk about 15' above ground where a large codominant leader sheared off the trunk many decades ago. Although both defects are severe, there is no visual evidence that the defects are deteriorating at this time. The tree benefits from being over the crest of a steep ridge and surrounded by a dense stand of mature secondary forest.

The landowner indicates that his grandfather purchased this tract of land below the Peaks of Otter after World War II, and the tree has been revered since then. The landowner says that the tree has been in essentially its present condition since he was a child in the 1960s. The family always joked that the former national champion tulip-poplar in the Town of Bedford couldn't compare to this one. They never pursued nomination of the tree until the present time.

Measuring the trunk circumference proved challenging due to the steep slope, pronounced spread of the root flare on the downslope side, and soil erosion from the root flare. As such it was difficult to identify a mid-slope position. To address this challenge, the trunk circumference was measured at 4.5' above ground at eight slope positions around the perimeter of the trunk. Seven of those measurements (downslope position was excluded due to bias of root flare enlargement) were then averaged to determine the listed trunk circumference.

Full photo documentation of the tree measurements can be found here.

More Photos

E. Wiseman. April 2021.

Location of Tree

Tree is located in: Bedford

State Map

Land Owner: Private

GPS Coordinates: 37.449356, -79.545943

Owner Email: Private

Directions: Location of the tree is confidential. GPS coordinates are approximate to the general area. Actual GPS coordinates are on file

Owner Address: Private

Owner Phone: Private

Contact Information

Contact Name: Eric Wiseman

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 540-231-5148

Contact Info: Dan Miles, Facilities Manager, Claytor Nature Study Center, Lynchburg College, 434-661-8362,


Original Nominator(s): Dan Miles, Eric Wiseman, Brendan Fitzgerald

Additional Information

I.D. Fact Sheet

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