Magnolia grandiflora L.

Southern magnolia, bull bay
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Magnolia grandiflora
Elena Torres & Santiago Moreno
Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

Magnolia grandiflora: Appearance of a group of magnolia trees all year round

Appearance of a group of magnolia trees all year roundLeathery leaves 20 cm long, glossy adaxially and fuzzy reddish-brown abaxiallyFlower 25 cm in diam., with a very large number of stamens (still immature) and pistilsSolitary flower 25 cm in diam. with 3 petaloid sepals and 6-12 somewhat fleshy petalsCone-shaped follicetum; two fruitlets are starting to open and reveal one red seed each; the scars left by each stamen are visible below

Magnolia: After P. Magnol, a French botanist from the 17th-18th century

grandiflorus, -a, -um: with large flowers


Habit: Evergreen tree up to 25-30 m tall, with smooth grayish bark and a somewhat pyramidal shape.

Leaves: alternate, persistent, simple, with caducous stipules that leave a ring-like scar on the nodes, and a short and strong petiole; blade 12-25 cm long x 5-10 cm wide, ± elliptic or oblong, with entire margins, leathery, glossy green adaxially and covered by reddish-brown fuzz abaxially.

Flowers: hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, hypogynous, c. 20-30 cm in diam., fragrant, solitary at the tips of young branches, with stalks and a convex columnar receptacle with 3 sepals attached, 6-12 white or cream obovate and somewhat fleshy petals, a very large number (± 200-400) of free reddish stamens, and an apocarpous gynoecium with numerous (50-90) pistils and a superior ovary.

Fruit: cone-shaped follicetum 5-8 cm long, ovoid, ± woody. Seeds 1-1.5 cm long, shiny, with a red aril, dangling from a long funiculus.


It flowers at the end of spring or beginning of summer; fruits mature in autumn.

Geographic origin

Native to the SE United States.


It is cultivated as an ornamental in parks and gardens of temperate regions all over the world.

It is propagated from seeds (in this case it takes longer to flower) or semi-ripe cuttings.

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