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Magnolia Tree

Shashank Nakate Feb 3, 2019
Magnolia trees are widely cultivated across the world. Information about its different types and the care that needs to be taken for it is provided here.
A genus having 210 species, the magnolia tree inhabits different parts of America and Asia. These flowering plants belong to the Magnoliaceae family and Magnolioideae subfamily.
It was named after Pierre Magnol, a French botanist. One of the specialty of its flowers is that they don't have distinct petals or sepals.


The common types are called Star and Saucer (also called Japanese). The scientific classification is given below.

Kingdom - Plantae
Division - Magnoliophyta
Class - Magnoliopsida
Family - Magnoliaceae
Genus - Magnolia
The enlisted facts are:
  • One of the ancient species, its fossils date back to 20 million years and this proves their antiquity.

  • In fact, Frank McDonough (Arboretum Botanical Information consultant) in his article published in 'The Arboretum' (Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden) states that fossils as old as 100 million years have been found.
  • The specialty of their flowers is that they have strong petals.

  • These petals are strong enough to prevent any kind of damage from beetles, which help in pollination.
  • Charles Plumier, a French botanist provided the description of a flowering plant found on the Martinique island in 1703. As mentioned before, this plant, which was known as 'talauma' in the local language got its name from Pierre Magnol.

  • 'Systema naturae' was the book from which Carl Linnaeus adopted the name 'Magnolia' (in the year 1735).


Southern Magnolia
  • It grows up to a height of 27.5 m.

  • This plant is known by its botanical name - Magnolia grandiflora.
  • It is mostly found in southeastern United States and specifically in the following regions - Arkansas, Texas, south to central Florida, and coastal Virginia.

  • An interesting fact is that it generally grows into a big tree. However, those plants found in coastal areas are no bigger than shrubs.
  • This tree is characterized by fragrant, white flowers and dark green leaves.

  • Leaves are 5 - 8 inches long while their shape is ovate.

  • These trees start producing seeds by 10 years. By the time they reach 25 years of age, the capacity to produce maximum number of seeds is attained.
Japanese Magnolia
  • They either have purple, pink, or white blooms.

  • The botanical name is Magnolia obovata.
  • It is found in Japan and the Kurile islands of Russia.

  • The tree grows up to a height of 15 - 30 feet.
  • Leaves of this plant are 16 - 38 cm in length, and their width varies between 9 - 20 cm.

  • The light and strong wood of this tree has a great demand in the market.

Maintenance Tips

  • It is quite easy to care for these plants, because pests don't cause much damage to them.

  • The soil should preferably be acidic.

  • Enough spacing between adjacent trees needs to be maintained for their healthy growth.
  • Propagation is carried out by means of bulbs.

  • Planting of bulbs should be done by the end of the summer season.

  • A hole, which is 2 - 3 times the size of the bulbs needs to be dug out, and then the bulb should be placed inside.
  • One should keep watering the bulbs at regular intervals till the onset of monsoon. Only after it has rained enough, watering should be stopped.

  • Plants need to be nourished with fertilizers every month.

  • It reaches maturity by the age of 10 years.
  • Prune to shape and remove unhealthy, weaker branches that may develop various diseases.

  • Trimming the side branches helps in giving the tree a conical shape.


Here is a list of varieties that one should consider for growing.
  • M. stellata (Centennial)
    Tree Form: Star
    Flower Specifications: White flowers

  • M. x soulangiana (Alexandrina)
    Tree Form: Saucer
    Flower Specifications: Rose flowers
  • M. stellata (Rosea)
    Tree Form: Star
    Flower Specifications: Pink flowers

  • M. x soulangiana (Lilliputian)
    Tree Form: Saucer
    Flower Specifications: Small pink flowers

  • M. x soulangiana (Brozzonii)
    Tree Form: Saucer
    Flower Specifications: White and large flowers
Cultivation of magnolia trees can be done easily if the mentioned instructions are followed. The trees, which are planted around the house provide us with enough shade and have a heavenly fragrance. Collect as much information as possible about this flowering tree.