Common Name: Umbrella Magnolia
Habit: A deciduous, understory tree, often multi-trunked, that typically grows to 15 to 30' tall and about as wide. Hardy in Zones 5-8.
Foliage: Deciduous. Huge, ovate to oblong leaves appear in whorl-like clusters at the stem tips, purportedly resembling the spokes of an umbrella. The shiny green leaves are a pale green beneath and covered with short, soft hairs. Leaves may be up to 24" long and 10" wide with V-shaped bases.
Flower: The unpleasantly fragrant, bowl-shaped, creamy white flowers, 6 to 10" across, bloom May to early June shortly after the leaves emerge. Each flower has 6 to 9 (sometimes 12) petal-like tepals.
Fruit: A large, cone-like structure with spirally arranged seeds. The outer layer of the seed is scarlet. Fruit ripens between September and October.
Interesting Fact: Although tripetala means three petals, the specific epithet refers to the three sepals on each flower. Sepals are leaf-like structures that enclose the flower bud before it opens.