Southern Magnolia

Arbor walk #63

The Southern Magnolia, known for its fragrant late-springtime flowers, is one of the most characteristic native trees of the American south. 

Name Southern Magnolia
Latin Name Magnolia grandiflora
Type Adaptive
Diameter 12″ dbh
Color of Leaf Leatherly glossy dark green above and pale green beneath
Shape of Leaf Ovate to elliptic up to 10″ long
Color of Flower White
Shape of Flower 8″to 12″ diameter usually with 6 petals
Fruit Characteristics Spherical cone-like fruiting clusters 3″to 5″ long mature late summer
Bark Characteristics Smooth gray somewhat beech like
Foliage Type Evergreen

With a typical native range incorporating moist woodland areas from North Carolina to Florida to Texas, St. Louis is much farther north than the Southern Magnolia would usually grow. Unlike the ‘Brown Beauty’ Magnolia cultivar found near Mudd Field, the non-cultivar version is generally ill-suited to St. Louis winters, and this specimen has survived primarily because it is in a relatively sheltered location. The tree’s most distinctive feature is its leaves – glossy dark green on top and a soft pale green below. While typically considered to be a (broadleaf) evergreen, it may become partially deciduous in harsh winters when it loses some of these leaves.

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