Bigleaf magnolia a small tree with huge leaves, flowers

Greg Stevens

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.

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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.

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