Perhaps you've seen the tulip poplar's delicately curved leaves catch the summer breeze or have sat under the tree's wide, bright green leaves for shade. Unlike other shade trees, like maple or oak, tulip tree leaves have a distinctive shape and texture. Their edges are less sharp than oak leaves and their surface holds fewer veins than maple. When it comes to autumnal tree foliage, the tulip tree's bright yellow leaves are reminiscent of the summer sun and sultry nights.
The leaves turn color when the days shorten and the nights grow cooler. As chlorophyll pulls back leaving behind other pigments, tulip leaves take on a variety of shades. Some canary bright, others golden, some deep amber - each of these tones is a study in yellow. When harvesting tulip tree leaves keep an eye out for their unique subtle tones on the underside and their brilliant hues on top. Combined the leaves can be used for intriguing autumn bouquets or centerpieces. Tulip leaves are suited for scrapbooks, home decor and arts and crafts.
Dip leaf tips or stems in colorful paints for a bit of contrast. Mount them on burlap or rustic canvas for framing or take a thin needle and string the leaves into a garland.
Children can create animal art from tulip leaves. The leaves' four lobes resemble owls, cat ears or imaginary creatures. Choose tulip leaves of various sizes; then mount them on paper where children can draw in limbs, beaks, feathers or horns to the "animal'S" leaf body. Adults can also use leaves to create multi-media art.
Or create a mini-water feature. This is an elegant way to enjoy tulip leaves' bright yellow tones. Fill a shallow vessel with water. Submerge the leaves for several seconds, making certain they are saturated. Light and add floating candles to the vessel. The leaves will not last longer than the evening but they will give a lovely light.