Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

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

Sweetbay Magnolia
Magnolia virginiana
Magnoliaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, evergreen, elliptical, approximately 6 inches long, and silvery white on the underside. Young twigs are green and hairy with a velvety hairy terminal bud. Bark is mottled gray-brown to almost white and smooth, becoming a bit scaly on older stems. Flowers are white and fragrant. Fruit is a cone-like cluster of red follicles. Form is up to 30 m (100 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. Sweetbay magnolia is found on moist to wet sites in the southeastern U.S. and is intermediate in shade tolerance. The pale, soft wood is used for pulpwood and boxes. The bark is eaten by beaver.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

To view examples, click on the thumbnail below: