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Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Southern Magnolia By mid-June, Southern Magnolia is in full bloom, although flowers may be seen as early as late April or early May. Some flowers continue to appear throughout the summer. This evergreen tree, native to the southeastern Atlantic coastal plain from southern North Carolina to central Florida and west along the Gulf Coast to Texas, has been planted extensively throughout the Southeast and has escaped into surrounding urban woodlands. Its large (5-8 in. long), elliptic leaves are shiny dark green above, with a velvet rusty surface underneath. When shed in the spring and early summer, the dry, leathery leaves decay very slowly and have been found to be alleopathic (releasing chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants).

The large, fragrant, creamy white flowers (up to 12 in. diameter), borne at the tips of branches, have many pistils and stamens in a central column, surrounded by undifferentiated sepals and petals (tepals). The flowers are pollinated by beetles. In late summer the erect pinkish fruits mature and, over the winter and the following spring, shed their scarlet seeds. Southern Magnolia typically grows to heights of 50-80 ft with a columnar to rounded shape. The tallest trees reported are over 100 ft high. Several cultivars of Southern Magnolia can be seen near the Visitors Center.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: