Shrub to 5 m tall. Branchlets hairy, often zig-zag. Stipules brown hairy and joined to leaf stalk for most of their length. Leaves hairless, elliptic, 4.5-6.5 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, vein pairs 9-12. Leaf stalk 3-5 mm long. Flowers purplish in se Australia, perianth segments 6, each about 2 cm long, strongly fragrant with a smell that can be detected at a distance and which is variously described as reminiscent of port wine, bananas or pear drops; spring to summer. Carpels to 15 on a stalk that is up to 1 cm long. [m. fuscata Andr.]
Widely cultivated in its native countries and the most commonly culÃÂÂtivated variety in SE Australia.
Flowers for perfuming tea; leaves for volatile oils and medicinal purposes.
var. crassipes (Law) B.L. Chen &Nooteboom. This is the commonly cultivated variety with purplish flowers. [M. crassipes Law]
var. figo Perianth yellow with purplish edges, segments larger than the above variety.
Source: (1997). Magnoliaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press. (as Michelia figo)
Appears to be an earlier flowering variant with 6 larger perianth segments to 2.5 cm or so long, yellow on the outside and suffused with purple.
This is possibly just a commercial name for the typical variety which is rarely grown in south-east Australia.