Magnolia L.

Commemorating Pierre Magnol, botanist of Montpelier (1638-1715).

Evergreen or deciduous trees and shrubs. Bark smooth to fissured. Buds enclosed at first by stipules that are often joined to the leaf stalk. Leaves alternate, simple, entire. Flowers bisexual, solitary, terminal, white or yellow to pink or purple, appearing before or with the leaves; parts in 3s (occasionally more), 6-many, free, generally all petal-like, the outer ones occasionally small and sepal-like. (Where the distinction between petals and sepals is not clear the parts are referred to as perianth segments.) Stamens numerous, spirally arranged; anthers opening inwards or to the side. Carpels spirally arranged on the axis, mostly numerous, free or fused together, each with 2 (rarely 4-5) ovules. Fruit woody, elongate, warty, the seeds orange, red or pink, hanging from the fruit on long threads when mature.

Most recent imports to Australia have arrived via New Zealand but in the 1960s and 1970s they were mainly from Hilliers and Treseders in the uk. Different cultivars may be found growing under the same name and this has been related in some cases to different original sources (England, America, Holland and New Zealand): this applies mostly to m. × soulangeana cultivars. Early and late flowers of many species and hybrids are often atypical. Unusual variants of m. kobus and m. salicifolia may also be encountered. Undoubtedly the most authoritative horticultural reference on magnolias is that of Neil Treseder (1978) which details the backgrounds of both species and cultivars: cultivar descriptions and backgrounds given here have relied mostly on information in this book and that of Callaway (1994).

Rarely cultivated species are mentioned in the text only.

Cool climate species are well represented on properties in the Victorian Dandenongs and Mt Macedon.

Mostly by cuttings, a few by grafting on strong stocks and seed occasionally used in some species. Tissue culture is now used for some species e.g. m. grandiflora.

Dr Wong, Old Koonara Road, Olinda; Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (small collection). Garden Plant Conservation Association of Australia (gpcaa) collection, Como Gardens, Doongalla Road, The Basin, Victoria. Cascade Nursery, Monbulk probably has Australia's largest selection of species and cultivars, many recently introduced. Yamina Rare Plants Nursery, The Patch, Victoria stocked 80 or so species and cultivars in 1995.

Deciduous shrubs except for the evergreen tree Magnolia grandiflora and the rarely cultivated m. delavayi and m. virginiana; flowers large, showy, terminal, mostly white to pale pinkish purple (a few modern introductions are yellow or reddish purple); ovules and seeds mostly 2 per carpel.

About 80 species from temperate and tropical regions, chiefly eastern America south to Brazil (40 species), the remainder from the Himalaya to China and se Asia, Japan and Malesia.

Technical: Johnstone (1955), Fogg & McDaniel (1975), Spongberg (1976), Treseder (1978), Ueda (1985), Meyer & McClintock (1987), Spongberg (1989, with a useful key to cultivated species), Nooteboom (1987, 1989), Chen Bao Liang & Nooteboom (1993). Popular Gardiner: (1989), Callaway (1994). Journals: Magnolia Magazine, the Journal of the American Magnolia Society, is basic reading for magnolia lovers including up-to-date information and accounts of new introductions. (American Magnolia Society, 907. S. Chestnut St., Hammond, Los Angeles 70403-5102, usa or Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, usa 02130.)

Key modified from that of Spongberg in European Garden Flora vol. 3 (1989).

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Magnoliaceae. In: Spencer, R.. 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.

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kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Magnolianae
order      Magnoliales
family       Magnoliaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Magnolia acuminata (L.) L.
species         Magnolia ×alba (DC.)Figlar
species         Magnolia campbellii Hook.f. & Thomson
species         Magnolia denudata Desr.
species         Magnolia figo (Lour.) DC.
species         Magnolia grandiflora L.
species         Magnolia kobus D C.
species         Magnolia liliiflora Desr.
species         Magnolia ×loebneri Kache
species         Magnolia sieboldii K.Koch
species         Magnolia ×soulangeana Soul.-Bod.
species         Magnolia sprengeri Pamp.
species         Magnolia ×veitchii Bean
species         Magnolia ×wiesneri Carr.