Deciduous tree to 10 m or more tall, narrowly upright, especially when young. Leaves obovate 7-16 cm long, 5-8 cm wide, slightly hairy below, shortly pointed at the tip and tapering at the base. Leaf stalks mostly 1.5-2 cm long with small basal stipule scars. Flowers to 15 cm wide with furry buds, erect, white, fragrant (lemon-scented), appearing before the leaves, segments 9-12; late winter. Fruit about 8-12 cm long. [m. heptapeta (Buc'hoz) Dandy]
A source of Oil of Yulan (Ulan), a skin moisturiser.
Flowers before leaves, narrow at the base but with a characteristic bowl shape, white with 9 more or less equal segments.
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.
Segments 9, thick and fleshy, the edges bent down. Colour strongest at the base; stamens purplish, hence the cultivar name. An exceptional clone said to have originated as a seedling given by j.c. Williams of Caerhays Castle, Cornwall to Peter Veitch of the Veitch Nursery in the uk and probably a hybrid.
(m. denudata × m. stellata) a large bush with flowers smaller than those of m. denudata and with a star-like appearance when fully open. Raised in Japan.