Monday, November 28, 2016
Meet the "Southern Magnolia" - Magnolia grandiflora
The "Southern Magnolia" - Magnolia grandiflora - is a medium sized evergreen tree. It is also called the Bull Bay, Big Laurel, Evergreen Magnolia or Large Flower Magnolia. The native range of the Southern Magnolia goes from North Carolina south down the Atlantic Coast and through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Central Texas. Averaging 60-80 feet tall in ideal locations, they usually reach maturity at 80-120 years. It typically grows in an oval pyramidal shape.
Image Citations (Photo 1 & 2): T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Featuring leathery leaves 5–10" in length, with a lustrous dark green top and soft, rusty underside. The large White fragrant flowers appear April-June and are almost perfect in form. The fleshy cone shaped fruit mature in late fall. The fruit are 5-8 inches long and attract a wide range of wildlife including Squirrels, Rabbits and Birds.
Image Citation (Photo 3): Franklin Bonner, USFS (ret.), Bugwood.org
Recommended for zones 6-10 this variety can be grown as far North as Maine and is found planted over most of the country with the exception of the North-Central Region. Air-layering, stem cuttings and grafting are all sucessful means of propagation. It can be found at most nurseries in it's growth range. It is best planted as a landscape tree versus a street tree as the leaf, flower and fruit debris are often considered messy.
The name Magnolia honors French Botanist Pierre Magnol, who was so impressed with the tree he transplanted one near his home in Europe over 300 years ago. One of these trees grows on the White House grounds, it was transplanted by President Andrew Jackson from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. This tree was transplanted to honor his late wife Rachel's memory.