Magnolia macrophylla

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: large-leaved cucumber tree
Type: Tree
Family: Magnoliaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 30.00 to 40.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 40.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White with purple petal bases
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Generally intolerant of soil extremes (dry or wet). Intolerant of most urban pollutants. Best sited in locations protected from strong winds which may shred the large leaves. May take 12 or more years before first blooms appear.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Magnolia macrophylla, commonly called bigleaf magnolia, is noted for its huge oblong-obovate leaves (to 30 inches long) which are the largest simple leaves of any tree indigenous to North America. Leaves are green above and silvery-gray below. This unusual tree is rarely found in the wild, being limited mainly to a few rich wooded areas in river valleys and ravines in the southeastern United States. It is a pyramidal tree that develops a spreading rounded crown with age, typically growing 30-40’ tall. Fragrant, open, cup-shaped flowers to 8-10” (less frequently to 12”) wide bloom in May. Flowers are white with rose-purple at the petal bases. Although quite large, the flowers are often located far off the ground and are not always easy to see close up. Flowers give way to spherical cone-like fruits which mature to red in late summer, releasing individual red coated seeds suspended on slender threads at maturity.

Genus name honors Pierre Magnol, French botanist (1638-1715).

Specific epithet is from the Greek words macro meaning large and phyllon meaning leaf in reference to the huge leaves.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Beautiful specimen flowering tree for lawns.