Meet the Trees: Southern Magnolia

Meet the Trees: Southern Magnolia

The Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora is a beautiful evergreen tree native to the southern United States. It can be found natively east to South Carolina and west to eastern Texas. The Southern Magnolia is found on the edges of bodies of water and swamps, just like the sweetgum, water oak, and black tupelo varieties. M. grandiflora is the state tree of Mississippi and the state flower of Louisiana.

Growing well outside of its native range, Madison Square Park has a specimen located in the 26th St bed in the northernmost position of the Park. The winter protection offered by the surrounding buildings has allowed this tree to reach a height just over 20’. Every few years, this tree sends out a new leader attempting to grow even taller but time and time again those leaders have been killed by the winter cold. 

Everything about these trees are big including its large evergreen leaves which are beautiful all year round and often have brown fuzz on the underside. Its latin name also translates to “large flowers.” These grand, white, lemon scented flowers bloom in late spring eventually turning into a brown velvety seed pod with red fruit.