Deciduous multistemmed shrub to 3 m tall. Leaves obovate to elliptic, 10-15 cm long, slightly hairy above and on the veins below. Flowers large, appearing with and after the leaves, outer perianth segments 3, small, sepal-like, greenish or coloured, sometimes soon shed. Inner perianth segments 6, petal-like, purple outside, white inside, mostly 6-7 cm long; spring, a few flowers appearing in summer. Fruit cylindric, 3-6.5 cm long. [m. quinquepeta (Buc'hoz) Dandy]
Together with M. ×soulangeana and its cultivars this is the most widely grown magnolia.
Characterised by the 3 small sepal-like segments at the base of the narrow, erect, generally dark-coloured flowers.
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.
(m. liliiflora × m. stellata) One of a group of hybrids raised at the us National Arboretum at Washington dc in a program initiated in 1955-56 by geneticist Dr Francis de Vos and later extended by the arboretum horticulturist William Kosar to develop late flowering cultivars (referred to as the de Vos and Kosar hybrids). Buds erect, tapering. Segments 6-8, erect, broad, pointed, reddish purple with pale edges and tips. Leaves long-pointed, veins imprinted, margins wavy; stalk rusty-haired. Earliest flowering of the de Vos hybrids.
Flowers large, to 12 cm long, appearing with the leaves, differing from those of the type in being extremely dark purple outside and pale purple inside, lemon-scented. Japanese raised and probably introduced from Japan to uk by nurseryman j.g. Veitch in 1861. However, there may be several variants under this clonal name.
Floral segments 10-15, contorted, reddish-purple at the base, pale at the pointed tips. Inner surface colour varying from white to purple. Largest of the de Vos hybrids (see 'Ann').
(m. liliiflora × m. ×veitchii) Floral segments 12, broad, pointed, reddish violet outside, white inside. Raised by Todd Gresham at Santa Cruz Bay, California c. 1955.
(m. liliiflora 'Nigra' × m. sprengeri var. diva) Flowers large, bowl-shaped. Raised by the Jurys in New Zealand.
Flowers, erect, fragrant. Segments 6, reddish purple on both surfaces and slightly twisted. A Kosar hybrid (see 'Ann') bred from m. liliiflora 'Nigra' and m. stellata 'Rosea' c. 1956.