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Botanical Name: Magnolia virginiana ‘Jim Wilson’ [Moonglow®]

Common Name: Moonglow Sweetbay Magnolia
Location: Kendal and Crosslands


Notable Feature: The cultivar ‘Jim Wilson’, commonly sold as Moonglow® is distinguished from the species by (1) a more vigorous upright growth, (2) better cold hardiness with semi-evergreen foliage in the northern part of its range, and (3) slightly larger flowers.

Habit: A medium-sized tree with an oval to vase-shaped form. It typically matures to 20 to 30’ tall with a spread of 18’. The species is native to the southeastern United States north along the Atlantic coast to New York. Hardy in Zones 5-10.

Foliage: Semi-evergreen, elliptic to lanceolate leaves are 3 to 5” long and a glossy gray-green above and a silvery to bluish white beneath. If the foliage is crushed it releases a pungent bay leaf aroma.

Flower: Cup-shaped, sweetly fragrant (lemony), creamy white, waxy flowers (4” in diameter) appear in late spring and continue sporadically throughout the summer. Each blossom contains 9 to 12 petal-like tepals.

Fruit: Ornamentally effective. The cone-like fruits contain bright red seeds that are an important source of food for birds in the fall.

Interesting Fact: The glossy green leaves with silvery undersides add a sparkle to the garden, especially on breezy days. Introduced by the late Earl Cully of Heritage Trees, Inc, Jacksonville, Illinois. The tree is named for Jim Wilson, the beloved long-time host of PBS Victory Garden. Plant Patent #12,065 was issued in 2001.

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