Common Name: tulip-poplar
Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera
Native/Naturalized: Native to Virginia
Database ID: 2887
National Champion: yes
Virginia Champion: yes
Circumference: 362 in.
Height: 139 ft.
Crown: 78 ft.
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.
Location of Tree
Tree is located in: Bedford
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 Name: Eric Wiseman
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Phone: 540-231-5148
Contact Info: Dan Miles, Facilities Manager, Claytor Nature Study Center, Lynchburg College, 434-661-8362, email@example.com
Original Nominator(s): Dan Miles, Eric Wiseman, Brendan Fitzgerald