En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Can tulip tree sap be used to make syrup in Bunker Hill IN?

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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


Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

More Edible Plants Questions

Information about growing food in Arizona
May 25, 2009 - Edible plants in Arizona: How can I get information on planting and growing food in Scottsdale Arizona?
view the full question and answer

Will corn fall victim to allelopathy from hackberry in Clarkridge AR
March 30, 2013 - Will my corn be inhibited by a nearby hackberry and if so would it help to cut it down? I understand that sometimes the soil is full of the chemicals the tree produces.
view the full question and answer

Edibility of fruit of Passiflora incarnata
July 19, 2007 - We have Passion flower vines growing, blooming and producing fruit all over our property and the land nearby. They are growing wild. We are near Greensboro, Georgia which is barely in the Northeast pa...
view the full question and answer

What blueberry cultivar is best for Austin, TX.
April 15, 2010 - How do I know what blueberry bush to purchase for the best tasting variety that will grow in the Austin, TX area?
view the full question and answer

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

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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center