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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia grandiflora L.

Southern magnolia, Evergreen magnolia, Bull bay

Magnoliaceae (Magnolia Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: Magr4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (I)

One of the most beautiful native trees, evergreen with straight trunk, conical crown, and very fragrant, very large, white flowers. The pyramidal southern magnolia does not get extremely large in most of its range. It is usually 50 ft. tall, rarely growing to 100 ft. They have a dense growth of smooth, leathery evergreen leaves that are alternate, 5–10 inches long, shiny on top and rusty below. Fragrant, creamy-white flowers, which discolor easily if bruised, appear on the ends of thick, tough stems all over the tree. They are cup-shaped, about 8 inches across, with 6 thick petals, wider at the tip, where they are cupped. The blossoms open about 9:00 A.M. and close at night for 2 or 3 days; then all the stamens are shed and the flower reopens, turns brown, and disintegrates. The flowers appear throughout the summer and into fall. The flowers produce conelike seedpods that contain large red seeds. When the pods open, the seeds often fall from their place and hang by silky threads.

Planted around the world in warm temperate and subtropical regions, it is a popular ornamental and shade tree, hardy north to Philadelphia. Several horticultural varieties have been developed.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Size Notes: 50-75
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers 6 inches
Fruit:
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MD , MS , NC , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal Plain from extreme s.e. VA to FL, w. to e. TX
Native Habitat: Lowland & coastal woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, porous, acid soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous
Conditions Comments: Southern magnolia is a relatively fast-growing tree. It casts a dark shade, making underplanting difficult. Prune after blooming during the growing season because dormant magnolias do not easily heal. Fallen leaves are messy and never seem to decompose. They can be chopped with a rotary mower and blown back under the branches to recycle nutients. Must be given protection from winter winds and sun in northern part of its range. Relatively pest free. Seedlings are quite sensitive to frost.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Blooms ornamental, Accent tree or shrub, Aromatic, Understory tree, Shade tree. The dried leaves are used by florists in decorations.
Use Other: Principal uses of the wood are furniture, boxes, cabinetwork, and doors.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Propagation methods include the use of fresh seed sown in fall, stratified seed, or wounded, semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer. The seed of evergreen magnolias seems to germinate more quickly than that of the deciduous varieties.
Seed Collection: Gather as soon as cones drop or the red seeds appear. When ripe, the seeds are bright red, fleshy, oily, soft on the outside and stony on the inside. Clean and store in moist sand or sphagnum moss in refrigerator. Cold, moist storage also serves at stratification.
Seed Treatment: Stored seed must be kept moist and cool which will also serve as stratification. Stratify at least 60 days.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Maintain moist soil, Remove dead growth, Prevent complete soil dryness, Do not prune lower limbs & leaves, Fertilize in spring, mid-season & fall with azalea/camellia-type fertilizer

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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I think my magnolia has black mildew. How do I treat it?
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Tree ordinances re Magnolia Ladybird Johnson tree
July 02, 2006
What exactly is a Ladybird Johnson tree? Also, is there any type of federal or state law(s) that prohibits the cutting, trimming or removal of a LadyBird Johnson tree? Thank you for your time!
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National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC UPL FACU FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DC
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 766 - Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide (2002) Groom, D.
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Magnolia grandiflora in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Magnolia grandiflora in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Magnolia grandiflora

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-09-05
Research By: TWC Staff

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