Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saucer Magnolia

Here's a saucer magnolia after Tuesday night's snowfall.

When it's leafed out, it looks like a giant shrub. Now that the leaves are gone, you can see that it's multi-stemmed.

The large hirsute (fuzzy) floral buds give this tree an interesting winter texture. You can see the crescent-shaped leaf scars directly below the buds.

Here is an infructescence from last summer minus the red seeds. Most of these empty fruiting bodies have fallen to the ground by now.

The saucer magnolia is one of the earliest blooming trees in the spring (which unfortunately makes the flowers susceptible to frost damage). The pink or purple and white flowers emerge before the leaves. The saucer magnolia was hybridized around 1820 by Etienne Soulange-Bodin, a French horticulturist. Hundreds of varieties of this hybrid exist today.


  1. Katie, if you find any magnolia twigs broken by the storm, scrape the bark and take a sniff. Magnolia bark has a very distinctive spicy/clean fragrance -- delicious!

  2. A number of thing to say: These winter images are lovely, and I enjoy the links that allow us to see trees at other times of the year. Meanwhile, you have a way with words like 'infructescence." And these fuzzy buds make me think of pussy willows. Is there a relationship?

  3. Deb: Thanks to you, Art and I went out and enjoyed sniffing scraped magnolia bark. Haywood: Thanks for your comments. I don't think there is a relationship between magnolia and pussy willow. Not a close one, at least.