August 2023 - Southern Magnolia

Common Name:  Southern Magnolia

Botanical Name:  Magnolia grandiflora

Native Range:  Southeastern United States, Zones 6-10. 

Height:   60-80 feet in Southeast, smaller in colder climates. 

Spread: 10-15 feet.

Form: Pyramidal to oval form.

Growth Rate:  Slow to moderate depending upon resources available.

Sun: June-August

Soil: Grows best in well drained slightly acidic soil.

Leaf Description:  The leaves are elliptical and pinnate with a main vein.   The leaves remain throughout the year.  Leaves are typically green on top and rust colored underneath The leaves are described as shiny due to their waxy coating which retards water loss.

Fall Color:  Evergreen

Flower Description: Flowers are described as perfect having both male and female reproductive abilities.  Flowering time is June through August with the flowers emitting a strong fragrance. Southern Magnolia flowers do not produce true nectar, but instead secrete a sugary secretion. Both the blooms and the leaves of the Southern Magnolia are strong, making them more resistant to insect damage. Southern magnolias shed their leaves year-round and leave considerable leaf litter.

Fruit: The fruit is cone shaped, ranging in size from three to eight inches. When mature, the fruit splits open exposing seeds which provide food for birds, insects, and small mammals.

Bark Description:  Gray and smooth with occasional lenticels which serve as gas exchange openings.

Wildlife Benefit:  In addition to shelter, the flowers produce a sugary-like substance which attracts pollinators.

Tolerates:   Tolerates drought and heat once established.  

Uses: Used as a specimen tree.

Where to be found on Municipal Property: There is a specimen Southern Magnolia in the Northeast section of Marquand Park on Magnolia Hill.

Additional Facts:

  • Common names are Evergreen Magnolia, Large-Flower Magnolia, and Big-Laurel Magnolia.
  • State tree of Mississippi
  • Wood has been used to make furniture.
  • Only evergreen in the Magnolia family. Sweetbay Magnolia is considered semi-evergreen. 
  • Magnolia flower is associated with nobility, perseverance, dignity, and a love of nature.
  • The tree is a symbol of magnificence because of its height and enormous flowers.
  • The name of this tree comes front a French Botanist, Pierre Magnol, who admired the tree so much that he transported it to Europe over three hundred years ago.
  • Andrew Jackson transplanted a tree from Nashville, Tennessee to the grounds of the White House in memory of his wife.
  • The bark of the tree has been used for herbal remedies.
  • Little Gem Magnolia is a cultivar good for tight space. 20-30 feet tall by 10 feet wide. 


Dirr, M. A.; Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. 2019,without%20leaving%20the%20soil%20wet 

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