"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Friday, 30 May 2008

Leaf of the Day: Tulip Tree Leaf

This pretty variegated leaf came with me from the West Dean Gardens, pressed inbetween the pages of a sketch book. I had forgotten I had put it there. So my drawing is of a slightly dried up leaf but the pattern was still as bright and its lovely shape still true to life. The stem is long and elegant allowing the leaves on the tree to flutter beautifully in the breeze.
It is the tulip tree "Liriodendron tulipifera" so called, of course, because of the shape of the flowers., but I thought the leaves were quite tulip shaped like too.

I have never seen one in bloom, but it was hard to miss this tree in garden with its beautiful variegated leaves, pale green with darker green markings, and of course the unusual shape.












The tree is native to the Eastern United States and the lovely wood is well known to cabinetmakers and it was the favoured tree of dug-out canoe makers including, allegedly, Daniel Boon the great 18th C American frontiersman.



This 16th Century engraving, showing the making of a dug out canoe is, I think, again from from De Bray's work based on the observations of Jacques le Moyne who I wrote about under the Yaupon Holly post here . He is the one who recorded the interesting black tea (yaupon holly) ceremony amongst the Timucua Indians of Florida. .. its hard to forget that one!
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Tulip Tree Leaf