Different Types of Magnolia Trees

Magnolia is a genus of large shrubs and trees encompassing more than 80 species. They range from evergreen to deciduous species and all produce flowers though bloom periods vary from spring to summer. They are grown for their blooms and fragrance, shady canopies as well as their distinctive glossy and leathery foliage.

Magnolia Grandiflora

Also known as Southern or Bull Bay magnolia, Grandiflora is an evegreen species with a pyramid canopy shape that reaches up to 80-feet in height at maturity. The flowers are large up to 12-inches in diameter and a rich cream-white hue. It flowers in May and June and less vigorously during the summer. The flowers are fragrant and fragrant and the glossy leaves are often harvested for wreaths. Cultivars in the Grandiflora species include: Bracken's Brown Beauty, Claudia Wannamaker, Edith Bogue, Little Gem, Majestic Beauty, Samuel Sommer and St. Mary.

Magnolia Stellata

Also known as Star Magnolia, Stellata is a round shrub form magnolia that reaches 20 feet in height and 15 feet in spread at maturity. It produces small blooms roughly 4-inches or less in diameter and fragrant flowers in hues of pink and white in early spring before the leaves unfurl. When they develop the leaves are a dark glossy green on the top surface and light green on the underside. Cultivars of Stellata include: Centennial, Rosea, Royal Star, Waterlily and several hybrids versions of Little Girl.

Magnolia Virginiana

Also known as Sweetbay Magnolia, Virginiana grows in both a single trunk tree form as well as a multi-trunk shrub form. It is deciduous or evergreen species depending on the climate and reaches 50 feet in height and 25 feet in spread at maturity. The form is upright and the flowers are on the small side for magnolias at roughly 3-inches in diameter when fully open. The flower are a cream white and have a pronounced lemony fragrance. The leaves are the traditional glossy green on the top and silvery on the reverse. The bark is decorative on Virginiana species with silver bark on old wood contrasting with bright green on young wood.

Magnolia Macrophylla

Also known as the Bigleaf Magnolia, Macrophylla grows as a large shrub or tree reaching 40 feet in height. It has an upright growth habit and produces the largest leaves and flowers of any hardy tree that is native to North America. A single leaf grows to be up to 3 feet in length and the fragrant flowers reach 12 inches across when in full bloom.

Keywords: types of magnolia tree, magnolia cultivars, species of magnolia

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.