Southern Magnolia

Bark detail


A tree known for its beautiful flowers and elegant size, the southern magnolia is a delight to see and care for, as they are naturally adaptable and thrive in an urban setting.

This tree is eligible for a $100 Tree Rebate.

More detail: Southern Magnolia’s Tree of the Month.

Common Name
Southern magnolia

Latin Name
Magnolia grandiflora

Simple and broadly ovate, with smooth margins; dark green, stiff and leathery, and often scurfy underneath with yellow-brown pubescence

Large, showy, lemon citronella-scented flowers are white and fragrant, with 6 to 12 petals with a waxy texture

Fleshy, rose-colored, conelike fruit

Stout, thick, appearing grey-brown

Young bark is dark gray and smooth but becomes furrowed and scaly as the tree matures

Pyramid-shaped, usually with a narrow crown

Can grow up to 90 feet in height

Native Range
Native to the southeastern United States, from Virginia south to central Florida, and then west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma

Medium-large deciduous

Seasonal Colors
The leaves change little, but the flowers begin dropping their bright seeds throughout the fall, leading to a vibrant red color on the tree.

Grows best on rich, loamy, moist soils along streams and near swamps

Quite tolerant of shade, but grows best in full sun

Similar Species
Sweetbay magnolia

Pests and Diseases
There are a number of fungi that attack the southern magnolia, including species of Cladosporium, Colletotrichum and Septoria that cause leaf spots but these seldom result in any significant damage. Heavy infestations of magnolia scale can kill branches or entire trees. A variety of other pests including tuliptree aphid, striped mealybug and spider mite feed on the magnolia.

Rebate Eligibility

Of Note
Magnolia grandiflora is the state tree of Mississippi and the state flower of Mississippi and Louisiana.

In many urban areas where other species do poorly, this magnolia can grow because of its resistance to damage from sulfur dioxide.

President Andrew Jackson planted a southern magnolia on the White House grounds that stands to this day.

Photo Credits

Sandy Austin
Chickens in the Trees (vns2009)
Javier Reina MartÃnez