The Yellow-Poplar (or Tulip Poplar) is immediately identifiable by the bright green tulip-shaped leaves as seen here. They are typically 3 to 4 inches tall and the same size wide, but they retain the same distinct shape even in the smallest leaves (less than an inch in size).
While identification is straightforward with the leaf, in the winter, or in the case of an extremely large Poplar, it can be difficult to actually see a leaf. In these cases, be on the lookout for the extremely tall, extremely straight trunk. It will be light gray in color and semi-smooth in appearance. It does have small furrows up close, though, and is not as smooth or white as a Quaking Aspen or American Sycamore. Once you become familiar with the shape and size of the Yellow-Poplar turnk this becomes an easy tree to recognize at a quick glance or from a distance.
The Yellow-Poplar also produces a pretty white to slight yellow flower that can often be found on the ground near a large tree, or see in the canopy. Using binoculars to find spot either the leaves or the flower is highly recommended.