Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In the Land of Magnolias

We have these mysterious trees in our back yard. Our back yard, it should be noted, has been left on its own for more than 20 years. We have plans for it, but at the moment it is still au naturel. There are LOTS of trees. However, there are several trees that have been a mystery to me for years. I say years because we also had one or two in the back yard of our last house. At this house, there are younger trees of this species and older, taller trees. And they have a distinguishing feature: their huge leaves.

Earlier this spring, Himself told me that our neighbor reported to him that these trees bloom with large white blossoms in early summer/late spring. "We've always called them wild magnolias," our neighbor said.

We live in the deep South, where magnolias abound. The variety we're used to down here is the Southern magnolia (magnolia grandiflora), and there are lots of those in our neighborhood. But they look nothing like the trees in my back yard. The shape of the tree is different and so are the leaves. So I shrugged at this bit of news and then forgot about it.

Until a few weeks ago, when Himself pointed out a blossom to me. It was high up in the tree, best visible from our second story deck, and gorgeous: large, creamy white, and waxy looking. Just like a magnolia.

So I Googled "wild magnolia tree," and bingo! I discovered that these trees are indeed magnolias. After doing a bit of research, I have tentatively identified my trees as bigleaf magnolias (magnolia macrophylla), due to the size of their leaves. Another possibility is the Fraser magnolia (magnolia fraseri), but its leaves are not quite as large, so I went with macrophylla.

According to our neighbor, the flowers have a lovely perfume, in keeping with their magnolia-ness. Sadly, the flowers on our trees are too high for us to smell. The flowers are also few. I wish there were more blooms! If it weren't for the flowers, I'd never been able to ID these trees.

I'm always excited when I make a nature discovery, whether it's a bird, flower, or tree identification. I'm sort of a nature nut when it comes to those kinds of things. Last week in the car, Tiny Girl said with an exasperated sigh and a smile, "You're always pointing out clouds!"

What can I say? Nature makes me happy!

Have you ever seen bigleaf magnolias where you are?

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Linking up with:
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll thru Life
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style


  1. Hi Ellen, your Magnolias are gorgeous. We have them here in Texas also and love our trees. I have not seen this variety of blooms with this type of bigleaf. Ours are the typical Southern Magnolia with blooms the size of dinner plates. They do not give a show of too many at once, but the fragrance is incredible. Ours is blooming currently in our front yard and it so beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing and the information.

    Have a great week.

  2. They were sighted in Alabama and Georgia. On undisturbed land. Nice Discovery.

  3. I live in Northwest Alabama and we have them here as well. I have been told they are Calcumber tree.


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