Magnolia grandiflora - L.
Common Name Southern Magnolia, Bull Bay, Large-flowered Magnolia, Southern Magnolia
Family Magnoliaceae
USDA hardiness 6-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Hammocks, sand dunes, buffs and sandy bottoms[72]. Rich moist soils[227]. Always found in lowland areas, never above 105 metres altitude[229]
Range South-eastern N. America - North Carolina to Florida and Texas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early spring, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Pyramidal.

Magnolia grandiflora Southern Magnolia, Bull Bay, Large-flowered Magnolia, Southern  Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora Southern Magnolia, Bull Bay, Large-flowered Magnolia, Southern  Magnolia
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of cone
Magnolia grandiflora is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Beetles.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

M. foetida. M. virginiana foetida.

Woodland Garden Canopy; Secondary;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The flowers are pickled in some parts of England and are considered to have an exquisite flavour[2, 183]. They are also said to be used as a spice and a condiment[183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Diaphoretic;  Hypotensive;  Salve;  Stimulant;  Tonic.

The bark is diaphoretic, stimulant, tonic[46, 61, 240]. It is used in the treatment of malaria and rheumatism[240]. A decoction has been used as a wash and a bath for prickly heat itching[257]. The decoction has also been used as a wash for sores and as a steam bath for treating dropsy[257]. An alcoholic extract of the plant reduces the blood pressure, produces a slight acceleration in respiration but has no action on the heart[240].


Other Uses
Essential;  Shelterbelt;  Wood.

A fairly wind-tolerant tree, it can be used in shelterbelt plantings[200]. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers[240]. Wood - hard and fairly heavy, but weak and not durable[227]. White when first cut, it turns brown on exposure to air[229]. It is used in limited amounts for fuel, baskets, crates, woodenware and furniture[82, 227].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Espalier, Firewood, Pest tolerant, Aggressive surface roots possible, Screen, Seashore, Specimen, Street tree. Best grown in a warm position in a moderately rich free soil of an open texture[1]. Tolerates moderately limey soils[200, 202] so long as they are deep and rich in humus[188]. The branches are brittle so a sheltered position is required[200]. Another part of the same book says that this species is fairly wind-resistant[200]. Succeeds in full sun or semi-shade[219]. Plants are hardy to about -10°c[200]. The fleshy roots are easily damaged and any transplanting is best done during a spell of mild moist weather in late spring[182]. A very ornamental plant[1], a number of named forms have been developed[200]. The flowers are very large (up to 25cm across) and have a delicious and very powerful scent[202, 245]. This is perhaps the most strongly scented flower in the world[245]. They can be produced in trees as young as 10 years old[229]. The form 'Exmouth Variety' (also known as elliptica) produces its flowers when younger than the species, these flowers have a refreshing lemon scent[245]. There is no main flush of flowering, instead the flowers open intermittently throughout the summer[K]. Plants do not normally need pruning, any cutting out of dead wood etc is best carried out in July[219]. Special Features: Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed must be kept cold over the winter and should be sown in late winter in a cold frame[200]. The seed usually germinates in the spring but it can take 18 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions when they are more than 15cm tall, though should be well mulched and given some protection from winter cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Layering in early spring[200].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Liriodendron tulipiferaTulip Tree, Tulip Poplar, Yellow Poplar, Canary Whitewood12
Magnolia acuminataCucumber Tree, Cucumber Magnolia03
Magnolia campbellii 00
Magnolia denudataLily Tree, Yulan Magnolia12
Magnolia dodecapetalaBwapen mawon00
Magnolia hypoleucaWhitebark Magnolia22
Magnolia kobusKobus magnolia, Northern Japanese Magnolia11
Magnolia liliifloraMu-Lan, Woody Orchid, Lily Magnolia03
Magnolia macrophyllaBigleaf Magnolia01
Magnolia officinalisHou Po03
Magnolia stellataStar Magnolia10
Magnolia virginianaLaurel Magnolia, Sweetbay13
Michelia figoBanana Shrub, Michelia10


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Readers comment
jane camellia sarkar   Tue Aug 8 2006
I smelt this plant last saturday and thought how beatutiful and orange blossom like it was. I would like to know how to obtain the esential oil and other parts for eating and spicing if available.
   Aug 5 2011 12:00AM
I have had my plant for 10 years, although I bought it as a well established shrub. It flowered almost immediately and has done regularly. Last year flowers were sparse,but the plant grew and is now over 3m tall. It has come through the past winter relatively un scathed, but it started to shed leaves of a yellow to brown nature in abundance. However new growth has appeared during the year followed by flowers. However these turn brown within a day. I have recently had a garden upheaval, but the plant has remained in place other than having a layer of new top soil spread over the surface. It is watered regularly as the corner it is in dries out quickly. Any advice on what I could or should not be doing would be greatfully received.
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Subject : Magnolia grandiflora  

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