Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Southern Magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnoliaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, evergreen, elliptical, approximately 11 inches long, shiny and leathery with maroon hairs on the underside. Twigs and buds are covered with maroon hairs and stipular scars surround the twig. Terminal buds are up to 1 1/2 inches long. Bark is gray-brown and smooth when young, becoming grooved and scaly with age. Flowers are large, white and wonderfully fragrant. Fruit is a cone-like cluster of red follicles. Form is up to 24 m (80 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. Southern magnolia is found on moist to wet sites in the southeastern Coastal Plain and is shade tolerant. The pale, heavy wood is used for pulpwood, furniture and pallets. A popular ornamental for the evergreen leaves and fragrant flowers, but the fruit can be messy and the roots may block septic lines.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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