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What Eats Flowers on Magnolia Trees?

By Em Connell McCarty ; Updated September 21, 2017

Magnolia trees are as fascinating as they are beautiful. This popular tree is a primitive flowering plant which somehow survived in America and Asia as Ice Age glaciers wiped out ancient forests in Europe. Of the 80 species of magnolias you can find ones which thrive in the tropics as well as species which can weather the Midwestern United States and Canada, ones which are deciduous or ones which are evergreen, and ones which bloom in white, yellow, green, pink or purple. Magnolias are relatively pest free; however, there are a few different species which enjoy eating the flowers of the magnolia tree.


Due to their prehistoric design, magnolia trees do not have nectar and do not use bees and butterflies for pollination. Instead magnolia trees attract beetles from the Nitidulidae family with the flowers' fragrance and its sugary secretions. These beetles feed off of the magnolia flowers and pollinate the trees as they do so. Weevils, a type of beetle, will eat the petals of a magnolia flower, leaving notches around the edges of the petal as they do so. The larvae of winter moths will also eat magnolia blossoms.


Wildlife is attracted to the thick, fragrant petals of the magnolia tree. Deer will eat the blossoms on your magnolia. If your magnolia is cultivated as a bush, rabbits that can reach the flowers will eat them. Squirrels commonly eat the seeds of the magnolia and will also eat the flowers.


The flowers of the magnolia tree are also eaten by humans. Traditionally, the flowers have been used by the Chinese as a cure for sinus ailments, but they are also eaten just for the taste and texture.