Botanical Name: Magnolia stellata
Common Name: Star Magnolia
Locations: CSE, KS
Notable Feature: Its elegance and beauty, bursting forth in clouds of white, starry flowers, is surely a most welcome sign of spring. Blossoms appear weeks ahead of other spring flowering trees, making this magnolia a popular choice for early spring color.
Habit: This small, often multistemmed, deciduous tree typically grows 15 to 20 feet tall with a spreading, rounded crown; bark is smooth and a mottled gray.
Foliage: The alternate leaves are simple and elliptical, 2 1/2 to 4” long with smooth margins, dark green above and a lighter green below.
Flower: Fat, fuzzy buds open in late winter before the foliage. Each flower is 3 to 4” wide and typically has 12 to 18 narrow, strap-like tepals (modified leaves that appear as petals). Flowers are perfect (bisexual).
Fruit: Large seeds mature within a bright pink, knobby capsule, 2 to 3” long. Many of the fruits drop before they are fully developed, but those that remain on the tree burst open in early autumn to reveal brilliant orange seeds.
Interesting Fact: Originally from the highlands of the Japanese island of Honshu, the Star Magnolia was introduced into the United States in the 1860s. Star Magnolia is the most common magnolia used in the art of bonsai.