Large, fast-growing tree to 20-30 m or more tall. Leaves mostly 8-12 cm long and wide, almost rectangular, yellow in autumn. Leaf stalks 5-10 cm long, rich yellow in autumn. Flowers tulip-like, the petals greenish-yellow with an orange at the base; late spring. Fruit 6-8 cm long, seeds winged, to 4.5 cm long.
The only other species of the genus is L. chinense (Hemsl.) Sarg. which is generally a smaller tree with larger more deeply lobed leaves and smaller inner perianth segments with yellow veins.
It is rare in cultivation but specimens may be seen in the Government House Bed at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, the Mereweather Arboretum, Dunkeld, Victoria and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, New South Wales.
E North America
ACT: Hyatt Hotel. NSW: Mt Tomah (Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah); Mt Wilson ('Yengo'); Orange (Robertson Park); Sydney (Royal Botanic Garden Sydney). VIC: Bogong (township, by lake); Dandenongs ('Kenloch', about 36 m tall); Kyneton (Kyneton Botanic Gardens); Marysville ('Kooringa', fine tree 27 m tall and girth of 3 m in 1983); Parkville (University of Melbourne, south of Union House); Springvale (Botanical Cemetery - formerly Springvale Crematorium).
Source: (1997). Magnoliaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Variegated Tulip Tree. Slow-growing with yellow-variegated leaf margins. Origin Germany c. 1889. ('Variegatum' is probably a synonym of this cultivar.) Specimens nsw: Albury (Albury Botanic Gardens). Vic: Emerald (Nobelius Heritage Park 20 m tall in 1985); Mt Macedon ('Forest Glade Gardens' about 18 m in 1984).
Fastigiate Tulip Tree. Narrow columnar, branches erect. Origin Germany c. 1889. Specimens?vic: Dandenongs ('Pirianda').
Foliage soft yellow until early summer before eventually turning pale green and, in autumn, a deeper yellow than the species. Raised by Alan Raper of Rhodo Glen Nurseries, Victoria, Australia c. 1974 as a foliage sport. Propagated by budding.