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Magnolia tripetala (L.) L.
Umbrella Tree, Umbrella Magnolia
Magnoliaceae (Magnolia Family)
Synonym(s): Magnolia virginiana var. tripetala
USDA Symbol: matr
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Tree with large leaves, very large flowers, and a broad, open crown of spreading branches; often with sprouts at base. The leaves of this 15-45 ft. deciduous magnolia are clustered at the end of stems to resemble an umbrella. Individual leaves are 10-24 in. in length. The showy flowers are 6-8 in. in diameter and creamy-white in color. Their petals are thin and less symetrical than those of other magnolias. The flowers are followed by cone-shaped, rosy-red fruits.
Fairly common at low altitudes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina-Tennessee. The arrangement of spreading leaves somewhat resembles the ribs of an umbrella, hence the common name. The Latin species name, meaning "3 petals," probably refers to the 3 sepals, which are longer than the more numerous petals.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Aggregate , Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 45 feet tall.
Fruit: Cone-like aggregated follicles.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , FL , GA , IN , KY , MA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: Irregularly distributed from e. PA to s. IN, s. to n.w. FL & s.e. OK
Native Habitat: Stream banks; swamps; rich woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, rich, acidic, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: A good native deciduous magnolia for some home landscapes, although the large leaves and coarse texture may be cumbersome. The floral scent of umbrella magnolia is rather unpleasant.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Cleaned, fall-sown magnolia seed will sprout the following summer.
Commercially Avail: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Magnolia tripetala in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Magnolia tripetala in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Magnolia tripetala
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-13
Research By: TWC Staff