What is a Japanese Magnolia?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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The magnolia tree is a beautiful flowering tree that can grow to between 15 and 50 feet (4.57 to 15.24 meters) tall. This tree originated in China, but is often called the Japanese magnolia. The tree blooms in the early spring with large tulip-shaped white, pink, or purple flowers. The tree has large dark green leaves with a shiny, glossy coating.

The Japanese magnolia tree is a hardy tree that can grow in most environments, but does best with warmer climates. The tree is considered a slow-growing tree. It prefers moist soil that is well drained.

This species of tree is one of the oldest trees known to man. It is believed to be older than bees and requires beetles for pollination. Based on fossil records, the Japanese magnolia tree is more then 50 million years old.

Many Asian cultures have used the Japanese magnolia bark for medical purposes for many centuries. It is typically used for assisting with stomach aliments. Other applications include acupuncture treatment for bloating and general stomach pain.

Today there are more than 100 species of the magnolia tree available throughout the world. This tree was introduced in the United States through Japan, which is why it is generally called the Japanese magnolia. The tree typically does well when it has a mix of shade and sunlight.


The Japanese magnolia tree has a soft-bark outer casing and can be easily damaged with lawn equipment. It is important to cover the base of the tree with mulch on a yearly basis. This will ensure moist soil and that lawn mowers remain a safe distance from the trunk.

Annual pruning of the magnolia tree should only be performed after the flowers die off. One should prune away dead limbs and branches that are non-standard in format. As the magnolia tree becomes larger, it is important to ensure a symmetrical look for the tree.

The flowers of the magnolia tree have a sweet scent. They include a large center bulb that holds the seeds for pollination. As the flowers die, the bulbs and leaves will turn brown and fall off the tree.

The magnolia tree was named after Pierre Magnolia. He was a French botany professor who lived during the 1600s. This tree is found in many areas of the Caribbean, United States, and Asia.


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