Botanical Name: Magnolia virginiana
Common Name: Swamp/Sweetbay Magnolia
Origin: E. & SE. USA
Locations: CNE, CNW, KS
Notable Feature: Deliciously fragrant. The leaves twist and glimmer in the wind showing off their silvery white sheen. The bark is smooth, reddish brown to gray and often mottled.
Habit: A small tree, typically not over 20 feet in height and multistemmed; habit is loose, open, and upright. Capable of growing up to 60 feet in the South. It is deciduous in the Delaware Valley and evergreen to semi-evergreen in the South.
Foliage: The deciduous, narrow, elliptical leaf with smooth margins is 3 to 5” long. Leathery and shiny dark green above and silvery white below.
Flower: In late spring creamy white flowers appear, 2 to 3” in diameter, with a mild lemony scent. The tree may continue to flower sporadically into September.
Fruit: In late summer a cone-like cluster of 2-inch long follicles is formed, enclosing yet ornamentally exposing dark red seeds.
Interesting Fact: Native to North America and unlike most magnolias, it does well in wet soil. The fruit is eaten by gray squirrels, white-footed mice, turkey and quail as well as a variety of songbirds including vireos, towhees, Northern flicker and blue jays.