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The Symbolism of the Magnolia Flower

magnolia image by Artyom Yefimov from

Magnolias are a striking variety of flower because the blooms are so large. With many varieties, the magnolia is grown in different parts of the country in different sizes and colors, often marking the beginning of the summer. Like many other flowers, magnolias have come to symbolize certain ideas and sentiments.


Magnolias are known for their large, beautiful flowers. When the flower is not in bloom, the leaves are an equally attractive, large evergreen color. Before the flowers bloom, the buds, which are cone-shaped, are actually fruit many animals eat. Magnolias come in the form of shrubs or trees. The trees can grow to a height of 60 to 80 feet while shrubs are smaller and become 15 to 20 feet high in maturity.


The flower is associated with nobility, perseverance, dignity and a love of nature. Magnolias are often used in floral arrangements such as wedding bouquets to represent the purity and dignity of the bride. They are popular in Southern-style weddings because the flower is often identified with the South.

The magnolia tree is a symbol of magnificence because of its impressive height and enormous flowers.

Symbolism in the Media

A "steel magnolia" is a popular phrase denoting the strength a Southern woman possesses. This phrase was popularized by the 1989 movie, "Steel Magnolias," in which six Southern women endure various hardships but rise above them. The term refers to the delicate yet strong nature women have.

In art, specifically Chinese art, the magnolia is used as a symbol of feminine sweetness and beauty.


The magnolia tree was named after a French botanist, Pierre Magnolia, in the 1600s. The flowering tree has more than 80 varieties including a striking yellowing bloom, the goldfinch, or the popular white bloom, Magnolia grandiflora. The scent of the flower varies depending on which variety is used. .


The flower is closely identified with the southern part of the United States, especially Mississippi, which is nicknamed the Magnolia State. Magnolias are also the official state tree. In addition, Magnolias grow in abundance in Houston, Texas, and the city has earned the nickname of the Magnolia City.

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