ENH-543/ST384: Magnolia virginiana: Sweetbay Magnolia

ENH-543/ST384: Magnolia virginiana: Sweetbay Magnolia

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, Andrew Okay. Koeser, Deborah R. Hilbert, and Drew C. McLean2


Sweetbay magnolia is a sleek southern, evergreen to semi-evergreen, vast columnar tree, ideally suited to be used as a patio tree or specimen. It may develop to a mature peak of 50 ft within the north or to 60 ft within the south. Bushes glimmer within the wind because of the whitish-green undersides of the leaves. They’re very noticeable as you drive by them on interstates alongside water-logged woodlands. The tree offers glorious vertical definition in a shrub border or as a free-standing specimen and prospers in moist, acid soil such because the swamps within the japanese U.S. and alongside stream banks. The creamy-white, lemon-scented flowers seem from June by means of September, and are adopted by small purple seeds that are utilized by a wide range of wildlife. It may be skilled right into a multi-trunked, spreading specimen plant, or left with the central chief intact as a large column.

Determine 1. 

Full Kind – Magnolia virginiana: sweetbay magnolia

Credit score:


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Basic Info

Scientific title:

Pronunciation: mag-NO-lee-uh ver-jin-ee-AY-nuh

Frequent title(s): sweetbay magnolia, swamp magnolia

Household: Magnoliaceae

USDA hardiness zones: 5A by means of 10A (Determine 2)

Origin: native to the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains, from East Texas to New York

UF/IFAS Invasive Evaluation Standing: native

Makes use of: deck or patio; specimen; avenue with out sidewalk; espalier; tree garden 4-6 ft vast; tree garden > 6 ft vast; freeway median

Determine 2. 


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Peak: 40 to 50 ft

Unfold: 15 to 25 ft

Crown uniformity: symmetrical

Crown form: columnar, vase

Crown density: average

Development price: average

Texture: medium


Leaf association: alternate

Leaf kind: easy

Leaf margin: whole

Leaf form: elliptic (oval), rectangular

Leaf venation: brachidodrome, pinnate

Leaf kind and persistence: deciduous, semi-evergreen, evergreen

Leaf blade size: 2 ½ to six inches

Leaf coloration: inexperienced to darkish yellow on prime, silvery white beneath

Fall coloration: no coloration change

Fall attribute: not showy

Determine 3. 

Leaf, Prime – Magnolia virginiana: sweetbay magnolia

Credit score:


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Determine 4. 

Leaf, Below – Magnolia virginiana: sweetbay magnolia

Credit score:


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Flower coloration: creamy white

Flower traits: very showy

Determine 5. 

Flower – Magnolia virginiana: sweetbay magnolia

Credit score:


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Fruit form: ovoid; cone-like

Fruit size: 2 inches

Fruit overlaying: dry or laborious

Fruit coloration: purple to brown with maturity

Fruit traits: attracts birds; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter drawback

Fruiting: late summer time

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/branches: branches do not droop; showy; sometimes multi-trunked; no thorns

Bark: reddish brown to pale grey, clean, and changing into tough with age

Pruning requirement: little required

Breakage: resistant

Present 12 months twig coloration: inexperienced

Present 12 months twig thickness: skinny

Wooden particular gravity: unknown

Determine 6. 

Bark, Younger – Magnolia virginiana: sweetbay magnolia

Credit score:


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Determine 7. 

Bark, Mature – Magnolia virginiana: sweetbay magnolia

Credit score:

Gitta Hasing, UF/IFAS

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Gentle requirement: full solar to partial shade

Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; moist to well-drained

Drought tolerance: low

Aerosol salt tolerance: low


Roots: not an issue

Winter curiosity: no

Excellent tree: sure

Ozone sensitivity: tolerant

Verticillium wilt susceptibility: vulnerable

Pest resistance: immune to pests/ailments

Use and Administration

Sweetbay magnolia makes a superb tree for planting subsequent to buildings, in slender alleys or corridors, or in different city areas with restricted area for horizontal crown growth. It has not been planted extensively in downtown city areas, however its flood and drought tolerance and slender crown mix to make it a superb candidate. It normally maintains a superb, straight central chief, though often the trunk branches low to the bottom forming a spherical multi-stemmed, spreading tree. It ought to be grown and planted extra usually.

Sweetbay magnolia roots simply from softwood cuttings, grows freely close to coastal areas, and is happiest in southern climates. It’s thriving within the Auburn Shade Tree Analysis trials in Alabama with out irrigation. Nevertheless, within the confined soil areas typical of some city areas, occasional irrigation is really helpful.

The species is deciduous in USDA hardiness zones 7 and eight (evergreen farther south), however the selection australis and cultivar ‘Henry Hicks’ are evergreen. ‘Havener’ has bigger flower petals.

Pests and Ailments

Scales typically infest foliage and twigs, significantly on dry websites the place the tree is beneath stress.

Tulip-poplar weevil (sassafras weevil) feeds as a leaf miner when younger and chews holes within the leaves as an grownup.

Leaf spots often happen on the foliage however are of little concern.


Koeser, A. Okay., Hasing, G., Friedman, M. H., and Irving, R. B. 2015. Bushes: North & Central Florida. College of Florida Institute of Meals and Agricultural Sciences.

Koeser, A.Okay., Friedman, M.H., Hasing, G., Finley, H., Schelb, J. 2017. Bushes: South Florida and the Keys. College of Florida Institute of Meals and Agricultural Sciences.

U.S. Division of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, College of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M College Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.

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