North American evergreen tree
Description: Large fragrant white flowers in spring and lustrous dark green leaves which are downy and rust colored on the underside.
Habit: Reaches 90’ in height.
Culture: Prefers sun or part shade and moist, loamy soil. If allowed to grow to the ground, the lower limbs will hide the shedding foliage.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 through 10
Origin: Southeastern United States
Attributes: Fragrant flowers; Showy fruits; Evergreen
This magnificent Southern tree, native of North Carolina through Florida and Texas, was being cultivated by 1734. It was a classic subject for many early botanical illustrators. Mark Catesby commissioned the naturalist and artist George Dionysius Ehret to illustrate the “Laurel Tree of Carolina” for his Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Island, Vol II. While living in Paris as Minister of France in 1786, Thomas Jefferson requested plants and seeds of the Southern Magnolia or Bull Bay Magnolia be sent to him from both Charles Ramsey of Charleston, South Carolina and John Bartram, Jr. of Philadelphia. Jefferson’s interests were to promote the desirability of many North American species by offering them to his friends.
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) arrives in a 2 gallon pot.