Answer to the Front Page Picture of the Week Question
for June 1st - August 23rd, 2009
This is Bigleaf magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla.
Magnolia macrophylla is one of eight species of Magnolia native to the United States and is
listed as “Endangered” in Arkansas and Ohio. Bigleaf Magnolia grows slowly to 30 to 40 feet and spreads
20 to 25 feet forming a rounded, broad canopy. Bigleaf magnolia truly has tremendous leaves, usually 20-30
inches but some up to 45 inches long, with wavy edges and "ear-lobes" at the base. It also has the largest
flower of any plant species native to the U.S. The ivory-colored showy flowers are 8 to 12 inches wide with
a slight rose tint at its base. These blooms are followed by the production of 2.5 to 3-inch-long, hairy, red,
egg-shaped fruits. Bigleaf Magnolia trees must be 12 to 15-years-of-age, however, before they begin to bloom.
It is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 5b through 8. Magnolia macrophylla
can be found in the Fern Valley Native Plant Collection
at the National Arboretum. [Check out our 'Native Magnolias of Spring'
article to learn more about all eight native U.S. Magnolia species].