Botanical Name: Magnolia denudata
Common Name: Yulan Magnolia
Origin: Eastern and Southern China
Notable Feature: Regarded as one of the most beautiful of all magnolias although its flowers may be subject to frost burn every few years as a result of its predisposition to bloom early in the season.
Habit: A small, deciduous tree that typically grows 30 to 40’ tall and wide, thickly branched with a rounded, spreading crown. It may also be grown as a large, multistemmed shrub. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
Foliage: Deciduous, Obovate leaves, up to 6” long, are dark green above and light green below.
Flower: Lemony fragrant, goblet-shaped, creamy white flowers (4 to 6” across) bloom in early spring. Each flower consists of 9 thick, white, petal-like tepals with a tinge of purple at each base. Flowers bloom before the leaves emerge.
Fruit: Cone-like fruits that mature to red in late summer, releasing individual red coated seeds suspended on slender threads.
Interesting Fact: A gift worthy of an Emperor, Yulan magnolia has been cultivated in Chinese Buddhist temple gardens since 600 AD. The flowers were regarded as a symbol of purity during the Tang Dynasty and the tree was planted on the grounds of the Emperor's palace.