Magnolia blossoms grow at the end of the tree's branches. Unlike most other flowers they do not have true petal and sepals. Instead they are composed of structures called tepals. The magnolia is a primitive flower type; some of the oldest fossils of flowers ever discovered resemble the magnolia.
The magnolia was widely known and used by ancient Asian and American cultures. Magnolia denudata, known as "jade orchid", has been cultivated by the Chinese since the 7th century. The Aztecs were also familiar with Magnolia macrophylla, which they referred to as "Flower with green husk."
The flowers don't produce a true nectar. They are mainly pollinated by beetles, because the magnolia evolved long before flying pollinators such as bees.
The flowers of the magnolia can come in white, pink, purple, red and yellow. The flower is followed by red or pink seeds.
Magnolia trees have sometimes been used for their timber or for medicinal purposes, but most often they are enjoyed as an ornamental for their beautiful blossoms and glossy leaves.
Symbol of the South
The lemony-scented Magnolia grandiflora has long been a symbol of the American South. The movie "Steel Magnolias" typified the stereotype of Southern women who may look delicate but are inwardly very strong.
- Magnolia Blossoms
- University of Florida Extension
magnolia flowers, magnolia trees, fragrant flowers
About this Author
Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.