Magnolia 'Butterflies'
Common Name: magnolia
Type: Tree
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Air Pollution


Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Best sited in areas protected from high wind. Somewhat tolerant of urban conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

The genus Magnolia consists of about 100 species (plus numerous additional hybrids and cultivars) of deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs. Most plants feature large simple leaves and showy, sometimes fragrant flowers (yellow, white, pink or purple) which bloom in early spring before or while the leaves are emerging or in late spring to summer when trees are fully leaved.

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

‘Butterflies’ is a deciduous hybrid magnolia resulting from a cross between M. acuminata (seed parent) and M. denudata (pollen parent). It is noted for its non-fading yellow flowers, late vegetative growth, compact pyramidal form and hardiness to both heat and cold. It typically grows as an upright, pyramidal tree to 18-20’ tall with a single trunk. It also grows as a multi-stemmed shrub. Upright, tulip-like, yellow flowers (to 4-5” across) bloom in late winter to early spring (late March in St. Louis). Each flower has 10-16 tepals. Flowers have a light lemon oil aroma. Flowers typically cover the tree with a profuse bloom for about 7-9 days. Foliage does not begin to emerge until the tepals have fallen. Dark green leaves (to 8” long) are oblong-elliptic with cuspidate tips. Foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season, but produces little fall color (gray-brown). Plant flowers are rarely pollinated by insects, and accordingly fruit is rarely produced. When it does appear, fruits are reddish-green at maturity. U. S. Plant Patent PP7,456 issued February 26, 1991.


No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Ornamental magnolia for lawns, foundations or woodland margins.