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Magnolia macrophylla

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 30'-40'

Bloom Time: May, June

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 6, 7, 8, 9

Additional Tags: fragrant flowers, ornamental foliage, rare, shade tree

Magnolia macrophylla

Pricing & Availability

Description

Magnolia macrophylla

Also known as:

bigleaf magnolia

,

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Magnolia macrophylla is well deserving of the common name 'bigleaf magnolia' as it produces the largest leaves of any tree native to North America, aside from tropical palms. Individual leaves can grow to 1' wide by 3' long. They are smooth and bright green, with hairy and silvery undersides, giving them a two-toned effect as they wave in the wind. The flowers are equally impressive: 10" or more across, creamy with a pinkish base, extremely fragrant, and give way to bright-red fruit later in summer. Trees can reach 40' at maturity, and have a rounded uneven crown.

Cultivation

Magnolia macrophylla is tolerant of a wide range of light conditions, ranging from full sun to part-shade. However, this species more particular about soil conditions, preferring those that are moist, rich, acidic, and well-drained. It is a good choice as a medium-sized shade tree. it is best grown in a spot sheltered from strong winds that can easily damage the large, delicate foliage. It can take 12 to 15 years for the trees to reach flowering maturity. The blooming period occurs in late spring or early summer and lasts about a month. Heat tolerant, and moderately cold hardy. Zones 6-9

Propagation

Propagated from seed, or softwood cuttings.

Additional Notes

"This spectacular but rare North American species is native to Central and Western Florida to Western Louisiana, North to North Carolina and the valley of the Green River, Kentucky. It was discovered in June 1795, while in full flower, by the French naturalist, André Michaux, during his exploration of the Carolina Piedmont regions near Charlotte, North Carolina. This awe-inspiring tree was introduced around 1800 and created quite a sensation in France. The Empress Josephine was among the first to have this magnificent tree in her garden. In 1890, Peter Henderson described a 50-year old specimen planted on an estate in Queens, New York: “There is upon this tree every year hundreds of flowers, and it is no less conspicuous in autumn, with its large heads of bright scarlet fruit.” - Monticello.org

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, DC, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NY, OH, SC, TN, VA, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: AR, OK

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Magnoliidae
Order Magnoliales
Family Magnoliaceae Magnolia family
Genus Magnolia magnolia
Species Magnolia macrophylla bigleaf magnolia