Indiana State Tree
Adoption of the Indiana State Tree
The tulip tree has long been acknowledged in Indiana history. A valuable timber and shade tree, it's fast growing and the tallest of the eastern hardwoods. A lightweight wood, it was used to craft canoes by Native Americans and to build shelter and other structures by early settlers.
Today the easily worked light yellow wood maintains a high commercial value because of its versatility and as a substitute for scarce softwoods in furniture and framing construction. The tulip tree is also valued as a honey tree, a source of food for song and game birds, rabbits, squirrels, mice, and whitetail deer.
Designation as the official state tree wasn't the first official recognition given to the tulip tree. The distinctive tulip tree leaf is found in the border of the State Seal of Indiana designed in the 1800s and from 1923 to 1931 the blossom of the tulip tree served as the official floral emblem of Indiana.
In 1931, an effort was exerted to replace the blossom of the tulip tree with the zinnia as Indiana's state flower. It was rumored that a certain grower of zinnia seeds in the state was responsible for legislation. The publicity generated by declaring the zinnia Indiana's official flower would have most certainly helped sell zinnia seeds!
It appears that a solution was achieved that was satisfactory to both parties to the state flower debate. The zinnia would replace the blossom of the tulip tree as the state's official flower and the tulip tree would be designated the official state tree of Indiana.
The tulip tree (liriodendron tulipifera) was adopted as the official State tree of Indiana by an act of the State legislature approved on March 3, 1931.
The tulip tree is also referred to as the tuliptree, tulip magnolia, yellow poplar, tulip poplar, white poplar and whitewood as well as hyphenated variations on those names.
The Indiana Code
The following information is excerpted from the Indiana Code, Title 1, Article 2, Chapter 7, Section 1-2-7-1.
TITLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
Liriodendron tulipifera: University of Connecticut Plant Database of Trees, Shrubs and Vines.
Plant Profile for Liriodendron tulipifera L. (Tuliptree): USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Liriodendron tulipifera L. (Yellow-Poplar): United States Department of Agriculture: Forest Service: Agriculture Handbook 654: Silvics of North America.
Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree): Plant Encyclopedia from MyGardenGuide.
State Tree List: List of all of the state state trees.
101 Trees of Indiana: A Field Guide: (Paperback) by Marion T. Jackson. Illustrations by Katherine Harrington. Photographs by Ron Rathfon. Indiana University Press (April, 2004)
Trees of Indiana: (Hardcover) by by Maryrose Wampler (Artist) with text by Fred Wampler. Trees of Indiana is a book for all art lovers and naturalists.
A Field Guide to Eastern Trees (Peterson Field Guides) (Paperback): by George A. Petrides, Janet Wehr (Illustrator), Roger Tory Peterson (Series Editor), Houghton Mifflin; 2 edition (July 15, 1998).
A Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs : Northeastern and north-central United States and southeastern and south-central Canada (Peterson Field Guides(R)): by George A. Petrides (Illustrator), Roger Tory Peterson (Series Editor), Houghton Mifflin; 2 edition (September 6, 1973).
A Field Guide to Eastern Forests : North America (Peterson Field Guides(R)) (Paperback): by John C. Kricher (Photographer), Gordon Morrison (Illustrator), Roger Tory Peterson (Series Editor), Houghton Mifflin (October 15, 1998).
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees : Eastern Region: by Elbert Luther Little. Knopf; Chanticleer Press ed edition (May 12, 1980).
America's Famous and Historic Trees: From George Washington's Tulip Poplar to Elvis Presley's Pin Oak (Hardcover) by Jeffrey G. Meyer. America's Famous and Historic Trees tells the stories of various trees that Meyer and his cohorts rescued or propagated: oftentimes, when trees were going to be cut down, he and his workers headed off the bulldozers, rescuing the tree with their massive tree hoe. Other trees--like the Indian Marker Pecan in southeast Dallas--were propagated before they died.
Trees : National Champions (Hardcover) by Barbara Bosworth. Bosworth captures the ineffable grace and dignity of trees with clarity and directness: the green ash that shades a midwestern crossroads, the common pear that blooms in a Washington field, and the Florida strangler fig with its mass of entwining aerial roots. Her black and white photographs, panoramic views taken with an 8 x 10 camera, show the immensity of the largest species and the hidden triumphs of the smallest
Plants, Seeds & Flowers: Bulbs, seeds, plants, fertilizer, plant containers and more.
Gardening Tools: Pruners, rakes, shovels, hoes, trowels, cultivators and tillers, greenhouses, yard carts and more.
State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols: A Historical Guide, Third Edition - Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Greenwood Press, 2002
State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers and Other Symbols: A Study based on historical documents giving the origin and significance of the state names, nicknames, mottoes, seals, flowers, birds, songs, and descriptive comments on the capitol buildings and on some of the leading state histories, Revised Edition - George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., The H.W. Wilson Company, 1938 (Reprint Services Corp. 1971)
Source: Office of Code Revision: Indiana Legislative Services, October 29, 2005
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