MAGNOLIA (mag-noh’-li-ah). Common and generic name of more than a score of trees and shrubs, deciduous and evergreen, of North and Central America and Asia. The evergreen sorts are not so hardy as the deciduous kinds. Many of them are spectacular in the blooming season, bearing probably the largest flowers of any cultivated tree; these range from white, through yellow and pink to purple. The tree is not especially graceful in form, but the astonishing spring transformation from naked branches to a mass of gorgeous, fragrant flowers never fails to win admiration. Since the flowers are not marketable, bruising easily and discoloring quickly, trees escape mutilation that would otherwise occur.

From the Orient come slow-growing, dwarfer species and hybrids, such as Magnolia kobus, Magnolia stellata, Magnolia soulangeana, etc., that blossom before the leaves, and provide some of the most striking and useful garden types. In view of their early blossoming habit they are best placed against an evergreen background.

Most of the magnolias thrive in a rich porous soil that is moderately moist, preferring sandy or peaty loam. They are difficult to transplant and must be carefully balled and wrapped and not trampled when reset, to avoid breaking and bruising the roots. The native kinds should be moved just as growth begins, and the Asiatic species and hybrids when in bloom, as the roots are tender and will not heal except when the plant is growing. Pruning must be done during the growing season as dormant trees do not easily heal their wounds.

Several leaf spots may occur on magnolia but they are rarely sufficiently serious to warrant spraying. In the S. E. States at the end of the rainy season a parasitic alga, entering through surface wounds, forms reddish-brown or orange cushion-like patches on leaves, twigs and fruit.

The magnolia scale is large (% in. across), soft, and resembles the tulip-tree scale. As the young winter over in a partly grown state the best control is a dormant application of a safe miscible oil. The Comstock mealy bug, which is abundant on catalpa, and sometimes injures magnolia can be controlled with a dormant spray.

Magnolias are propagated from seed and greenwood cuttings, and by layering or grafting on potted stock in the greenhouse; for the latter, Magnolias tripetala is preferred because of its superior fibrous roots, although Magnolias acuminata is also used.

Principal Species

In the following list those of Asiatic origin are indicated by (A).

Magnolia acuminata, the Cucumber-tree, to 119 ft., is hardy from N. Y. West and South. The large green flowers of this imposing pyramidal tree are distinguished with difficulty from the leaves.

Magnolia campbelli (A) attains 80 ft. Its 10-in. flowers are white and pink within and purple outside. Hardy from Va. southward.

Magnolia fraseri grows to 50 ft. and bears leaves TIA ft. long and flowers 10 in. across. Hardy from Va. southward.

Magnolia grandifiora (Bull Bay), to 100 ft., is the grandest tree of the tribe, with large lustrous evergreen leaves. It grows along the coast from N. C. to Texas but may survive in sheltered locations up to Phila. In bloom from April to August, it is very showy and its 8 in. flowers like giant roses cast their fragrance far and wide. It is the State flower of La. and Miss.

Magnolia obovata (A), growing to 100 ft., is hardy from N. Y. City southward. Its large leaves are almost silvery white beneath and its fragrant 7 in. flowers are followed by scarlet cylindrical fruits 8 in. long.

tnacrophylla is the Large-leaved Cucumber-tree. It attains 50 ft. and is conspicuous for its 3-ft long leaves and its fragrant flowers often 1 ft. across. Its range is from Ky. to Fla. and La.

Magnolia tripetala (Umbrella-tree), is hardy from Pa. southward; grows to 40 ft. and has leaves 2 ft. long. The 10 in. flowers are of unpleasant odor.

Magnolia virginiana (Sweet or Swamp Bay), varies from shrub size to a tree of 60 ft. and is hardy from Mass. along the coast south to Texas, where it is evergreen. Its fragrant flowers are but 3 in. across.

(The following hardy kinds bloom before the foliage.)

Magnolia kobus (A) to 30 ft., has a dense symmetrical habit; the white flowers, though small, stand well above the foliage.

Magnolia soulangeana (A) to 12 it., is a prolific bloomer and one of the kinds most planted. Its 6-in. fragrant flowers are white inside and brilliant purple outside. It is a hybrid having several varieties with white, rosy, red, and other shades.

Magnolia stellata (A), the Starry Magnolia, is bushy and slow growing, to 15 ft. A showy. plant with sweet, narrow-petaled flowers about 3 in. in diameter, it blooms with the early daffodils. In the north the blossoms are frequently frosted for their eagerness.

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