This fantastic flower was developed on a tree at what we right here in Columbia, S.C., call the Belser Arboretum, a 7-acre (or so) tract of forested land fairly significantly in the center of the town, and two blocks from my property.
The arboretum was bequeathed to the University of South Carolina in 1959 by William Gordon Belser, a Columbia resident and operator of the house, for the purpose of providing area knowledge and teaching for botany students.
As arboreta go, seven acres is not notably big. Even so, the Belser Arboretum provides a astonishing assemblage of purely natural habitats attribute of pre-settlement Columbia, and now offers quite an assortment of plant species. It is a amazing area for its dimensions, and its capable and continuing management has created it a single of the small-recognized treasures of our city setting.
Back to this great flower. I’ll go in advance and convey to you that this is a deciduous species of the genus Magnolia it was planted right here. There are almost certainly 100 or so distinctive species of magnolia all around the entire world. 8 of them come about in North The usa, and of these, two species are evergreen: M. grandiflora (Southern magnolia), and M. virginiana (sweet bay). The some others are deciduous, promptly losing their leaves when the time comes at the conclude of the escalating season.
Our thriller plant — bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophyllais) — is a smallish tree, typically with a one, slender trunk. It does not appear to be to be incredibly typical in just its normal geographic vary, which appears to be centered in Alabama and Mississippi (and Louisiana), up via Tennessee and Kentucky, with outlying populations in the Carolinas, Arkansas and Ohio.
It likes to improve on shady, forested slopes, normally in the vicinity of streams. Its leaves are remarkably big, and it is no exaggeration to say that of all the crops of North America with easy leaves, this species has the largest, sometimes very easily additional than 3 feet extensive. The leaves are chalky white beneath, and the foundation of the leaf typically reveals two rounded auricle, one thing like ear lobes.
The bigleaf magnolia’s bouquets are big, with 6 conspicuous white tepals, and they also are the largest of this continent’s indigenous flora. Moreover, they are very aromatic, a form of flowery/peppery/spicy scent.
Just about every flower lasts but two times. The to start with day it is open, it retains a instead tightly upright cup form, opening extensively the next working day, and attracting a variety of bugs. The flower will start out to flip brown on the third working day, soon shriveling up and slipping aside. Its purple seeds will be manufactured in a rounded cone.
This species is instead quickly out there in the trade, if you have the suitable place for it. The way I recognize it, horticulturalists increase it from seed or from stem cuttings as strategies of propagating it for sale. As always, when acquiring indigenous plant species, be guaranteed to make confident that they are sustainably grown and marketed, and not collected from the wild.
You can locate further superb data of this plant from the good people at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University at arboretum.harvard.edu.
John Nelson is the retired curator of the A.C. Moore Herbarium at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. As a public assistance, the Herbarium features absolutely free plant identifications. For far more facts, visit herbarium.org or electronic mail [email protected].