Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or choose a plant family:
Magnolia macrophylla (Bigleaf magnolia)
Cressler, Alan

Magnolia macrophylla

Magnolia macrophylla Michx.

Bigleaf Magnolia

Magnoliaceae (Magnolia Family)


USDA Symbol: MAMA2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The tree with the largest flowers and the largest leaves of all native North American species (except for tropical palms) and a broad, rounded crown of stout, spreading branches. Big-leaf magnolia is a round-headed giant reaching 30-40 ft. in height. Flowers are creamy-white, 8-14 in. across, solitary and fragrant, followed by egg-shaped, rose-colored fruits. Deciduous leaves are extremely large, up to 1 ft. wide and 3 ft. long.

Planted as an ornamental north to Massachusetts. However, in windy places the giant leaves become torn and unsightly. The "queenliest of all the deciduous magnolias" was named by the French naturalist and explorer Andre Michaux (1746-1802), who discovered this rare local tree near Charlotte, North Carolina in 1789.


From the Image Gallery

16 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , DC , GA , KY , LA , MD , MS , NC , OH , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: Interrupted distribution from w. FL to LA, n. to VA, KY & AR
Native Habitat: Bottomland woods, rich wooded slopes, alluvial woods, piedmont

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Rich, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Protection from wind helps to preserve the huge leaves.


Description: Fresh seed sown in fall; stratified seed; semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer
Seed Collection: When ripe, the seeds are bright red, fleshy, oily, soft on the outside and stony on the inside. Gather when ripe. 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

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2015-06-18
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back