Magnolia grandiflora - Linnaeus
Magnoliaceae (Magnolia) Family
Southern Magnolia is the state tree and state flower of Louisiana and Mississippi.
This is a native evergreen tree with a straight trunk, conical crown, and very fragrant, very large, creamy-white flowers. Average height of the Southern Magnolia is 60 to 80 feet with a trunk diameter of 2 to 3 feet. Its preferred habitat is moist soils of valleys and low uplands with various other hardwoods. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
The leaves are evergreen, 5 to 8 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. The shape is oblong or elliptic, thick and firm, with edges slightly turned under. The color is shiny bright green above, pale and rust-colored below. The leafstalks are covered with rust-colored hairs.
The flowers are large, 6 to 8 inches across, cup-shaped, 3 white sepals and 6 or more petals, very fragrant, solitary at the end of new growth twigs. Flowers occur in late spring and early summer.
Fruit is a cone 3 to 4 inches long, pink to brown, covered with rust-colored hairs, and composed of many separate short-pointed 2-seeded fruits that split open in early autumn.
Planted around the world in warm temperate and subtropical regions, it is a popular ornamental and shade tree. Several horticultural varieties have been developed. Principal uses of the wood are furniture, boxes, cabinet works, and doors. The dried leaves are used by florists in decorations.