The tulip poplar was designated the official state tree of Tennessee by Public Chapter 204 of the Acts of the 75th General Assembly in 1947. The tulip poplar was chosen “because it grows from one end of the state to the other” and “was extensively used by the pioneers of the state to construct houses, barns, and other necessary farm buildings.”
State Evergreen Tree
The eastern red cedar was designated the official state evergreen tree by the 107th General Assembly in Public Chapter 567 of the Acts of 2012. The tree is indigenous to the entire state and is a sacred tree of the Cherokee people.
It was one of the first landscape trees used by early pioneers, including Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage. The tree, Juniperus virginiana, was central to one of the earliest forest industries in Tennessee, the cedar pencil industry. It is an integral part of an ecological niche called cedar glades. Interestingly, Cedar Knob was the original name of the land upon which the state Capitol was built in Nashville. Cedar Street was also the name of the street at the foot of the state Capitol when it was constructed. That street is now Charlotte Avenue.