Tree about 10 m or so tall. Shoots hairless. Flower buds grey hairy. Leaves variable about 15-20 cm long. Flowers appearing before the leaves, on short stalks. Sepals 3. Petals 9, the inside white with pink streaking, pink outside. Filaments short and pinkish red. Early spring.
var. diva Stapf Extremely variable through suppliers and therefore perhaps best treated as a variable variety in the Diva Group. Habit compact. Flowers tulip-shaped, to 20 cm wide, segments 12, long and narrow, often curled at the tip, pink suffused with salmon, sweetly scented. Some versions of this variety do not have the salmon colourings. ['Diva']
Specimens NSW: Mt Wilson ('Nooroo'). VIC: Dandenongs ('Pirianda').
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.
Raised at the Burncoose Nsy in the uk with bright reddish purple flowers.
A variant found by Ron Boekel at the Lyrebird Nsy, Olinda probably sent from the uk as a seedling of the mother tree of var. diva at Caerhays Castle which had a m. ×soulangeana 'Alba Superba' nearby; possibly a hybrid of these two plants. Yamina Rare Plants Nursery, Victoria has an established tree of this selection that was planted in 1974.