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Magnolia virginiana

Magnolia virginiana L.

Magnolia virginiana L. var. australis Sarg.

Magnolia virginiana L. var. parva Ashe

Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderMagnolialesIncludes the custard apple family, magnolia family, nutmeg family, and others
FamilyMagnoliaceaeMagnolia family
GenusMagnoliaNamed for French botanist Pierre Magnol
Speciesvirginiana“Of or from Virginia”

About plant names...

This North American native is found in the southeast and along the east coast of the United States. Trees found north of Long Island NY, or in areas of the country other than those shown on the range map, were probably planted, not wild.

Identification: In the northern end of its range, this magnolia is often a multi-stemmed shrub 10-60' (3-18 m) tall, which loses its leaves in the winter (“deciduous”). In the south, it tends to be a single-trunked tree up to 40-100' (12-30 m) tall, and it is an evergreen. Leaves are alternate, in the shape of pointed ovals, with smooth edges, 2-4½" (6-12 cm) long × 1-1¾" (3-5 cm). Leaves are green on top, whitish-gray below. Bark is smooth and gray. Cup-shaped cream-colored flowers have a pleasant vanilla-lemon scent, and are 2-4" (5-10 cm) in diameter. Their petals are actually tepals. Fruiting “cones” are up to 2" (5 cm) long, filled with bright red seeds ⅛-¼" (6-9 mm) long. The closely-packed seeds are irregularly shaped, a bit like kernels of corn.

Online References:

Magnolia virginiana on Carolina Nature, from Will Cook

Magnolia virginiana on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Magnolia virginiana on Wikipedia

Magnolia virginiana at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Magnolia virginiana at the Ohio State University PLANTFacts database

Magnolia virginiana at the University of Connecticut Plant Database

Magnolia virginiana at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Magnolia virginiana on Erv Evans' site at the North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Magnolia virginiana at the USDA Forest Service's Silvics of North America site

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

This is yellower than I would expect, but I attribute that to flower age. · 4/12/2015 · Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm) ID is uncertain

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/13/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

6/13/2017 · Tom and Susan's, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (18 × 12 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

4/12/2015 · Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 7 × 6" (17 × 14 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/13/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

4/12/2015 · Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 14 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

6/13/2017 · Tom and Susan's, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 11 cm)

Magnolia virginiana description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 Jun 2017.

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Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

6/13/2017 · Tom and Susan's, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 11 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/7/2007 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4 × 2½" (10 × 7 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/13/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/7/2007 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (14 × 9.9 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/13/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/13/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/13/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/13/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

4/24/2007 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 4½ × 3" (11 × 7.5 cm)

Magnolia virginiana (Yellow Magnolia, Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Magnolia)

9/13/2009 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 7 × 4½" (17 × 11 cm)

Range: Zones 5-9:

About this map...