Magnolia 'Elizabeth'
Common Name: magnolia 
Type: Tree
Family: Magnoliaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 20.00 to 35.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Air Pollution


Best grown in organically rich, neutral to slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Appreciates a root-zone mulch to help retain soil moisture. Also appreciates a location protected from strong winds, but avoid warm southern exposures which may promote premature bud opening in spring. Fleshy root system is easily damaged during transplanting, so it is best to select a landscape location carefully and leave this magnolia undisturbed once planted. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. Usually requires little pruning other than removal of dead or damaged branches.

Grafted plants of 'Elizabeth' may bloom as early as the 3rd year.

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).

‘Elizabeth’ is a deciduous pyramidal magnolia tree that grows over time to 20-35’ tall and features fragrant yellow flowers in early spring. It is a cross between cucumber tree (M. acuminata) and Yulan magnolia (M. denudata). It was patented by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1977. Yellow flowers (each to 3” across) have tinges of yellow green near the bases. Flowers bloom at the twig tips as the new leaves begin to unfurl (late March – early April in St. Louis). Flowers are usually sterile. Obovate, large green leaves (4-9” long) have entire margins. Cone-like red fruits infrequently appear. Plant Patent PP4,145 was issued November 8, 1977.


Potential disease problems include leaf spots, anthracnose, canker, dieback and powdery mildew. Potential insect problems include weevils, snails, scale, and thrips.

Late frosts may damage flowers.


Excellent specimen for sunny areas in the landscape where spring flowers can be appreciated.