Star Magnolia

Magnolia stellata

Leaves: Deciduous. Leaves are 2-4” long, ½ as wide, oval shaped and pointed. Leaves are broadest towards the tip and rounded except for the point which sticks out abruptly. Medium to dark green color. Fall color is often a yellow-brown.

Bark/Twigs: Smooth gray bark. Distinctive large hairy buds.

Flowers/Fruit: Showy white flowers are 3-4” across with multiple (at least 12), narrow, long delicate petals. Blooms in early spring (March-April) before the leaves emerge.

Mature size and shape: Small. 15’h. Low-branching with an overall oval or rounded shape. Often grown as a multi-stemmed, small tree or large shrub.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun or partial light shade. Moist, rich, slightly acidic soil preferred but is one of the few magnolias that will tolerate higher pH soils. Because they bloom so early, they are vulnerable to damage by late spring frosts.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Good specimen tree as a focal point. Slow growing rate. Average maintenance. Magnolias have fleshy roots, so be careful when transplanting. Prune after flowering.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  4-9

Family/Origin: Magnoliaceae – Magnolia. Originally from the highlands of the Japanese island of Honshu, it is sometimes considered a variety of Magnolia kobus. The White Star Magnolia was originally brought to the U.S. from Japan around 1860.

Campus use: Extremely uncommon. Can be found south of the Union Building (Bld 53).

Southern Magnolia

Magnolia grandiflora

Leaves: Broadleaf evergreen. The leaves are broadly oval in shape, 5–8” long, 2–5” wide with smooth leaf edges and a pointed tip. They are lustrous dark green in color, stiff, and leathery. Leaves often have a scurfy underneath with yellow-brown/rusty fuzz. The leaves have a shiny, waxy coating that makes them resistant to damage from salt and air pollution.

Bark/Twigs: Smooth gray bark. Older trees may develop large scaly plates.

Flowers/Fruit: The large, showy, fragrant, citronella-scented flowers are creamy white, 8-12” across, with 6–12 petals with a waxy texture. Each petal is thick, concave, broadly ovate and 4-6” long. They emerge from the tips of twigs on mature trees in late spring (May-June). Flowering is followed by a rose-colored fruit, ovoid shape, 3–4” long and 1½–2” wide. The cone-like fruit split open to expose red seeds in fall (Sept-Oct).

Mature size and shape: Large. 50-60’h x 30’w. Columnar-pyramidal shape, low branching.

General information/special features: Usually not hardy to Utah. Plant in full sun to partial shade. Well-drained, rich, moist, acidic soil is best. Tolerates high soil moisture. It is natively found on the edges of bodies of water and swamps. The timber is hard and heavy, and has been used commercially to make furniture, pallets, and veneer.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Unique shade tree. Slow to medium growing rate. High maintenance. Leaves never completely decompose and can be messy, dropping in the spring and fall. Trees will go into shock and drop interior leaves when transplanted. Best transplanted in August. The foliage will bronze, blotch, and burn in severe winters at the northern limits of cultivation, especially when grown in full winter sun. Once established plants are drought tolerant, and the most drought tolerant of all the magnolia species.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  7-10

Family/Origin: Magnoliaceae – Magnolia. Native to the extreme southeastern U.S. from southeast Texas to eastern North Carolina.

Campus use: Rare. Only specimen. Can be found in lawn area north of Performing Arts (Bld 17).

Saucer Magnolia

Magnolia x soulangeana

Leaves: Deciduous. Leaves are 3-6” long, ½ as wide, oval shaped and pointed. Leaves are broadest towards the tip and rounded except for the point which sticks out abruptly. Medium to dark green color. Fall color is often a yellow-brown.

Bark/Twigs: Smooth gray bark. Distinctive large hairy buds.

Flowers/Fruit: Flowers are large, 4-10” across and vary in color from white to pink to light purple. The outside of the flower is often darker than the inside. Blooms in early spring (March-April) before the leaves emerge.

Mature size and shape: Small. 20-30’h with a variety of widths. Low-branching with an overall pyramidal or rounded shape. Often grown as a multi-stemmed, small tree or large shrub.

General information/special features: Plant in full sun to part shade. Moist, rich, slightly acidic soil preferred. Will tolerate some pollution. Because they bloom so early, they are vulnerable to damage by late spring frosts.

Landscape use and Maintenance: Good specimen tree as a focal point. Average growing rate. Average maintenance. Magnolias have fleshy roots, so be careful when transplanting. Prune after flowering.

USDA Hardiness Zone:  5-9

Family/Origin: Magnoliaceae – Magnolia. A hybrid magnolia between Magnolia denudata and Magnolia liliiflora. First cultivated in 1826.

Campus use: Somewhat common. Can be found in President's Circle and south of the main entrance of Kingsbury Hall (Bld 4).