Magnolia trees are large evergreen trees known for their stunning flowers, large leaves, fruit and plant forms. They’re also called Bull-Bay, Big Laurel, Evergreen Magnolia and Large-Flower Magnolia.
These trees are unique for several reasons such as the fact that magnolia flowers don’t produce true nectar, but yield pollen in large quantities. The pollen, which is rich in protein, is a food supply for beetles that typically pollinate the tree’s flowers.
Magnolias have a large genus with 210 species, according to the Flower Expert website. This tree is somewhat shaped as a pyramid. The average tree is able to grow as high 60 to 80 feet high and spread out from 30 to 50 feet wide.
The life expectancy varies among magnolia tree varieties. Most have been known to survive for 100 years or longer. The Southern magnolia tree lives an average of 80 years with some living up to 120 years. Magnolias take their time to produce flowers, as it takes roughly 10 to 15 years for a magnolia tree that’s grown from seed to produce its first flower.
The tree’s flowers are three to 12 inches wide with some species that have petals that are star-shaped. Although the fruit of the tree resembles a cone, it’s really a woody aggregate fruit, which means it has single flowers with multiple carpels that aren’t connected. The magnolia flower is one of the most primitive of all the flowering plants as its structure looks almost the same as it did millions of years ago.
Magnolias are known for their unique root system. Unlike most shrubs and trees, magnolia roots are rope-like and largely unbranched. This makes it harder to move them when they grow larger, although most magnolias can be moved with a trunk less than four inches wide, according to the United States Arboretum website.
The magnolia tree comes from Southeast Asia, the West Indies and North America. In the United States this tree is mostly found in the East as well as the South. It's the official state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi.
The Southern magnolia is considered the aristocrat of trees. This tree, which grows throughout the lower part of the South, adapts to various soils and has the least pest problems, making it one of the most resilient trees in Southern landscapes. It has glossy leaves and fragrant white blooms. Other magnolia varieties include “Sauder magnolia", “Sweet Bay” and “Star”.