Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 ratings

Friday - July 10, 2009

From: Bunker Hill, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Best of Smarty, Pests, Edible Plants
Title: Can tulip tree sap be used to make syrup in Bunker Hill IN?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was just wondering if tulip tree sap could be used to make syrup. I saw the sticky stuff on the leaves and decided to taste test it and it was very sweet, unfortunately I later found out that I was licking Aphid poo. Anyway...just curious how it would taste because the Aphid poo was actually very sweet.

ANSWER:

Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree), like all trees, does have sap. It is not, however, one of the trees that are valued for their sap, like the maples. One of its pests is the Tuliptree aphid, as discussed in this USDA Forest Service website Tuliptree. Note this excerpt below:

"Aphids, particularly Tuliptree aphid, can build up
to large numbers, leaving heavy deposits of honeydew
on lower leaves, cars, and other hard surfaces below.
A black, sooty mold may grow on the honeydew.
Although this does little permanent damage to the tree,
the honeydew and sooty mold can be annoying."

The sweetness you encountered was not a product of the tree sap, but of the aphids digestive systems. That "honeydew" also attracts ants. We never recommend "tasting" anything from a plant until you are sure what you are ingesting and know it's safe. 

 

From the Image Gallery

More Edible Plants Questions

Wild onions in southwest Michigan
June 06, 2007 - During the spring every year there are "Volunteer Onions" that grow in my lawn and garden. I live in Michigan, sw. question---are these onions? what are they--they smell like onions--- can they be e...
view the full question and answer

Fruit crops to grow in Tennessee mountains
May 27, 2013 - My property has a lot of rock formations throughout it and has hundreds of cedars where it is not pasture. I am wanting to grow fruit trees and berry bushes but don't know what can grow in this e...
view the full question and answer

Mulching vegetables with straw
June 13, 2007 - I have a small garden with 4 different veggies, tomatoes, hot peppers, squash & cucumbers. which plants is it OK to put straw under? which plants will straw hurt the stalks or other possibilities? tha...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine in El Paso, Texas
November 23, 2012 - I live in Del Rio Texas - Zone 8/9 and I have a vine which can't be identified. It looks like a morning glory white flower with crimson throat, but the leaf pattern is like a 5-7 fingered hand with d...
view the full question and answer

Medicinal qualities of Monarda clinopodioides
June 19, 2007 - Monarda clinopodioides Gray basil beebalm Could you tell me if the above-mentioned plant is edible or has any medicinal use?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.