The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Large Evergreen Magnolia Magnolia grandiflora

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The Large Evergreen Magnolia (M. grandiflora), or Big Laurel, as it is sometimes called, is peculiarly indigenous to that portion of our country south of North Carolina, where its stately trunk, often seventy feet in height, and superb pyramid of deep green foliage, render it one of the loveliest and most majestic of trees. The leaves, which are evergreen, and somewhat resemble those of the laurel in form, are generally six or eight inches in length, thick in texture and brilliantly polished on the upper surface. The highly fragrant flowers are composed of about six petals, opening in a wide cup-like form, of the most snowy whiteness of color. Scattered among the rich foliage, their effect is exquisitely beautiful. The seeds are borne in an oval, cone-like carpel or seed-vessel, composed of a number of cells which split longitudinally, when the stony seed, covered with a bright red pulp, drops out. There are several varieties, which have been raised from the seed of this species abroad; the most beautiful is the Exmouth Magnolia, with fine foliage, rusty beneath; it produces its flowers much earlier and more abundantly than the original sort. We regret that this tree is too tender to bear the open air north of Philadelphia, as it is one of the choicest evergreens. At the nurseries of the Messrs. Landreth, and at the Bartram Botanic Garden of Col. Carr, near that city, some good specimens of this Magnolia and its varieties are growing thriftily; but in the State of New York, and at the east, it can only be considered a greenhouse plant.