11 Magnolia Trees: Guide to Every Type (Colors, Sizes, Locations, Seeds)

Magnolia tree close up image surrounded by green with pink magnolia flowers clustered among magnolia tree banches and blue sky.

The stunning, flowering Magnolia has long been a favorite with many gardeners for it’s rich, hearty shady and gorgeous flowers.

If you’re interested in planting, buying, or just enjoying Magnolia trees, you’ve come to the right spot.

This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know about the types, color, size, and location of more than 11 varieties of magnolia tree…a tree that is named for it’s gorgeous bloom, which was christened for French botanist Pierre Magnol.3

Magnolia Tree


Magnolia tree in an oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Magnoliaceae Magnolia grandiflora
  • Leaf Characteristics: Dark green, wax covered oval shaped, with leathery feel
  • Flower Characteristics: Tulip and star shaped, in a variety of colors
  • Bark Characteristics: Grayish, smooth
  • Seed characteristics: Cone-shaped pods (follicles) with tiny red waxy seeds
  • Type: Evergreen

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Near Threatened


Magnolia trees are beautiful and very old, dating back hundreds of millions of years. In fact, they are part of a subclass that also includes the water-lily family,4 the buttercup family, and the magnolia family.

Not only that, the bark of the magnolia tree is widely accepted in Eastern and holistic medicine uses… there are tons of applications! (Check them out below)

Odd Facts About Magnolia Trees

Federally protected varieties like Ashe’s Magnolia are rare in their native range (Florida panhandle). Unlike the cottonwood tree, logging them is illegal. Other trees, like the cucumber magnolia, aren’t federally protected and are abundant in most parts of their native landscapes.

Image of southern magnolia tree leaves, dark green upper side, brownish color underneath.

Regrettably, almost half of the magnolia species in the wild are threatened with extinction. Many people ask, how many trees cut down each year? But the answer is hard to measure. The Neotropics have the highest percentage of threatened magnolias, with 75 percent of the species threatened with extinction. Since humans can’t live without trees, these threats are very concerning.

Magnolias are mainly threatened by logging and habitat loss attributed to land conversion to farming and livestock. Other threats are the collection of wild plant material and climate change.1

How To Identify a Magnolia Tree

Sometimes, it’s easy to recognize a magnolia tree…especially in summer when their beautiful blooms burst forth!

Graphic of Magnolia Tree Identification Chart with magnolia leaves, magnolia tree, magnolia seeds, magnolia flowers, and magnolia bark in oval frames.

But, these tips can help when it’s not so easy to recognize them.

Magnolia Tree Leaves

Magnolia trees are largely identified by their really big, pleasingly aromatic flowers. But, their distinctive large flat leaves are also used to identify them… smooth, shiny, and deep green.

Magnolia tree leaf identification chart with images of Saucer Magnolia leaf, Loebner Magnolia leaf, Southern Magnolia leaf, Star Magnolia leaf, and Sweetbay Magnolia leaf in circle frames.

Since each magnolia variety has different flowers, ranging from white (most recognized) to pink and other shades, identifying Magnolia tree leaves can be crucial.

Related Reading: Beautiful and thought provoking tree quotes

The leaves are long, oval shaped, smooth, and shiny, with almost a waxy appearance. Deep green tops are often brownish underneath, presenting a weird tree look.

Magnolia Tree Seeds

The seeds of the magnolia tree are interesting. Shaped like a cone, the brownish or tan colored pod contains tiny red seeds, which can be harvested after it opens.

Magnolia tree seed identification chart with images of Saucer Magnolia seed, Cucumber Magnolia seed, Southern Magnolia seed, Star Magnolia seed, and Sweetbay Magnolia seed in circle frames.

Once the seeds sprout, the magnolia tree roots stay shallow in the ground, which requires good moisture.

Magnolia Tree Flowers

Magnolia trees are popular for their majestic flowers that light up balmy spring nights with sweet fragrances.Their tulip or star-shaped flowers can be as large as saucers when in full bloom, and appear also waxy in texture.

Magnolia Tree Flower close up, white petals and yellow center.

(Image: josealbafotos12)

Their colors come in pink, purple, white, and yellow.

Some varieties have double blossoms!

Magnolia Tree Fruit

Not a traditional ‘fruit tree,’ the magnolia produces cone-shaped seed pods that attract birds with their bright red seeds.

Magnolia Tree Types

Did you know there is more than one type of magnolia tree? It’s true.

And while many people are familiar with the Southern Magnolia, with its gorgeous white blooms, at least eight species of magnolias, two evergreen and six deciduous varieties are native to the United States.

These species have proven sturdy and adaptable, and flourish in gardens outside their natural growing zone.

The most well-known types of magnolia trees include the following 11 varieties:

#1 Southern Magnolia Tree

With smooth, creamy-looking flowers, this tree also features a brownish, red color on the underside of its deep green leaves.

A saucer magnolia branch with deep green and brownish leaves with a white flower.

(Image: Gary J Stearman13)

According to experts, at one time, over 150 different varieties of Southern Magnolia existed, but now, the number is less than 40, and sadly, even fewer of those are available for home gardeners. Some include:

  • Greenback: Great choice for backyards because it doesn’t grow as tall as its cousins, and its branch spread stays within about 12 feet.
  • Edith Bogue: Suitable for colder climates
  • Little Gem Magnolia: Also a smaller variety, this beauty produces flowers for a very long season.
  • Bracken’s Brown Beauty: A very cold-tolerant species.
  • Victoria: Originating in Canada, this variety is frost resistant.
  • Blanchard: Towering tree that produces less blooms than the others.
  • Saint Mary Southern Magnolia: Intoxicating fragrance and beauty.
  • Teddy Bear Magnolia Tree: Much smaller, this shrub is slightly fatter and taller than the Little Gem.
Saucer magnolia tree branches with white and pink blooming flowers.

(Image: Zp14)

#2 Saucer Magnolia Tree

The Saucer Magnolia is the perfect tree for any size yard.

Large enough to be considered a ‘shade’ tree, this shrub variety produces gorgeous pink and white blossoms.

However, don’t get too attached to it unless you live in the lower Southern States. It can’t survive very cold temps. It’s deciduous and needs full sun.

#3 Star Magnolia Tree
(Japanese Magnolia Tree)

This deciduous tree (small shrub) will knock your socks off with very white, large blooms that resemble a star shape. Blooming in spring, the petals of its flowers are slightly different from the flat, large petals most associated with magnolias.

A close up photo of star magnolia tree branches with white flowers.

(Image: Nennieinszweidrei15)

It’s native to Japan and can live over 100 years, and is very popular because of the deliciously fragrant scent of its blooms. Star magnolias flower best in full sun but tolerate partly shaded gardens too.

A close up photo of Sweetbay magnolia with green leaves and white flowers.

(Image: Plant Image Library16)

#4 Sweetbay Magnolia Tree
(Sweet Bay Magnolia Tree)

The leaves of the sweetbay magnolia look frosty on the underside, and unlike its Southern cousin, is famous for dropping pods and leaves year-round.

Cooler temperatures can stunt the growth of the Sweetbay, which in warm climates can achieve 50 feet. It’s flowers smell like lemons!

#5 Cucumber Tree Magnolia
(Evergreen Magnolia Tree)

The Cucumber tree can get very tall, up to 80 feet, and is known for its distinctive, three-inch pods.

A photo of cucumber magnolia tree branch with long deep green leaves and white flowers.

(Image: Geoff McKay17)

These trees are generally grown for their shade, which can cover large areas. This native of Kentucky requires lots of sun and rich soil to flourish.

A close up photo of Loebner magnolia tree branch with pink flowers.

(Image: Hectonichus18)

#6 Loebner Magnolia Tree

The cross-bred variety of magnolia is on the smaller side, growing approximately 30 feet, and features star-shaped blooms.

The flowers usually sport about 12 petals and come in both pink and white.

#7 Felix Magnolia

Felix was developed by plant breeder Mark Jury, as part of a series that features bold flowers on little trees.

Felix Magnolia has hot-pink flowers 12 inches across—an excellent choice for courtyard or entry gardens or a  wide driveway. The trees flower at a young age and feature hundreds of blooms each spring.

A close up photo of a Felix magnolia tree branch with pink flower during daylight.

(Image: James F.19)

Close up photo of a Leonard Messel magnolia tree branch with a white and pinkish flower in a green grass field.

(Image: Magnus Manske20)

#8 Leonard Messel (Dwarf) Magnolia Tree

This dwarf magnolia is perfect for any size garden or yard, and it’s frost tolerant, which means those flowers stand a better chance of not wilting from late spring cold snaps.

Each petal is purplish-pink outside and whites on the inside.

#9 Magnolia Tulip Tree

Actually, don’t be fooled by this… the Magnolia and tulip trees are part of the same family, but not the same tree.

Generally, this term refers to the Jane and Ann trees…


Magnolia tree tulip blossom flowers in deep pink.

(Image: MabelAmber21)

A close up photo of Ann magnolia flowers with pink blossoms.

(Image: David J. Stang22)

#10 Ann Magnolia Tree vs Jane Magnolia Tree (Purple Magnolia Tree)

Both trees sport unique style blossoms, but there are slight differences in the blossoms. A Jane magnolia has very pale pink blooms with less petals, while the Ann magnolia has a much deeper pink bloom.

#11 Butterfly Magnolia Tree
(Yellow Magnolia Tree)

Distinctive for its colorful yellowish blooms, the butterfly magnolia has tulip-style blooms that smell lovely, and this tree grows in a rounded shape. Getting about as tall as it does wide.

A close up photo of a butterfly magnolia tree branch with yellow flowers.

(Image: Werner Kratz23)

Other Names for Magnolia

Many of the previous varieties are known by other names, including the laurel magnolia, evergreen magnolia, large-flower magnolia, or big laurel.

Magnolia Tree Bark: Natural Healing

Believe it or not, the magnolia tree is used for all sorts of natural remedies. The bark, seeds, and leaves can be boiled down to create a tincture, but most especially, the bark is touted for a number of treatments.

The following information is widely accepted, but not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor before taking any treatment for any ailment.5

The non-astringent bark tastes pungent and bitter. The aromatic property found in the volatile principle is slowly diminished and eventually lost as the bark ages.

Medicinal Qualities of Magnolia Tree

The magnolia bark has been used for millennia in Oriental medicine for the treatment of ailments ranging from muscle pain and headaches to depression and asthma.6 The extracts are considered safe when taken orally and in the short term.

Anxiety Treatment

Honokiol impacts the hormonal balance in our body,7 especially stress hormones. By regulating the endocrine system, magnolia can reduce anxiety and stress by regulating the endocrine system, soothing the mind, and lowering hormone release. Another study shows that it can help by stimulating the release of dopamine and other mood-enhancing hormones.8

Reduces Gingivitis

Magnolia extract can reduce gingivitis, a condition when the gums are inflamed and tend to bleed easily.

Menstrual Cramps

The components found in magnolia bark and flowers are known to soothe and reduce inflammation and muscle tension. Neuropathic practitioners prescribe magnolia flower buds to ease menstrual cramps. Those supplements may provide relief, improve mood, and prevent the emotional peaks that come with the per-menstrual period.

Respiratory Issues

Magnolia is effective in relieving some respiratory conditions, which include asthma, bronchitis, and coughing. The natural medicine stimulates the corticosteroids in the body to reduce lung inflammation and prevent asthma attacks.

Improves Liver Health

While stimulating the lymphatic system and improving the number of toxins eliminated from the body, magnolia is also helpful in reducing the fat build-up around the liver, which is a primary cause of liver failure due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Promotes Weight Loss

Even though magnolia bark can increase weight by awakening food cravings because of its corticosteroids, a magnolia supplement can help to suppress appetite, which is helpful to anyone trying to lose weight.9

Maybe someone can enjoy magnolia bark concentrate with salsa?

Manages Diabetes

One reason that magnolia has received the attention of the press in recent years is because of its bark’s ability to act like cortisol, the hormone that reduces stress in our body. By mimicking cortisol,10 it can be helpful in the prevention and development of diabetes.

They are powerful and should be taken in small doses only, and they shouldn’t be used by pregnant women, as they are known to cause vertigo, dizziness, and headaches. Its bark contains high concentrations of chemicals and can cause respiratory paralysis in animals or infant children, so should be avoided in those situations.

Culinary Uses of Magnolia Tree

You can benefit from the magnolia flowers year-round. They can be dried and sprinkled onto foods or used instead of ginger or cardamom. They’re not as pungent, so not best for long cooking. The petals can also be converted into light vinegar good as a salad dressing.

Magnolia tree bark close up with yellowish old flower on stem.

(Image: suju-foto 24)

Magnolia blossoms are edible but intense in flavor. They should not be eaten raw. They can be pickled.

Folklore and Religious Significance of Magnolia Tree

  • Magnolia means dignity, spirituality, and peace. The Magnolia tree is strong, thus the strength of character is associated with the name. It’s a common flower name for girls.3
  • The flower is associated with nobility and a love of nature. Magnolias are popular in floral arrangements in wedding bouquets and represent the purity of the bride. They’re also popular in Southern weddings because the flower is common in the South.
  • Goddess Saraswati, who was always clad in white, symbolizes purity and peace of mind. She loves white and yellow-colored flowers. Indian magnolia and marigold are yellow flowers offered to the Goddess of knowledge and wisdom.

Magnolia Trees for Sale: What To Consider

The southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is well-known, but deciduous varieties grow in many regions of the U.S., including the magnolia tree in Florida, Maine, the magnolia tree in California, the Magnolia tree in Texas, and Washington.2

Magnolia tree leaves and southern magnolia bark close up of magnolia tree branches.

Throughout the country, the magnolia tree beautifies the land.

If you’re thinking of buying a magnolia, there are some things to consider to ensure that the tree thrives.

Magnolia Tree Size:

Magnolias are suitable for most gardens.

Magnolia tree growth chart showing full grown Magnolia tree on a line graph with Magnolia tree age on the x-axis and Magnolia tree height on the y-axis.

Their size varies from 15-foot shrubs to huge trees that reach heights of 80 feet.

Magnolia Bloom Time:

Depending on the species, the flowers can bloom in early spring before the leaves appear, or later in the summer, after the leaves are fully formed. The Oyama magnolia and the Bigleaf magnolia typically bloom later in the year, closer to the end of May and June. They develop from large buds set during the previous growing season. They remain throughout the fall and winter. Evergreen magnolias bloom during the shift from spring to summer.

Magnolia tree seeds pod with white magnolia flower bursting forth.

(Image: Nennieinszweidrei25)

It’s also common for sporadic blooms to appear on new growth.

Native Regions

The natural range of Magnolias is in East and Southeast Asia. Other centers are in eastern North America, Central America, the West Indies, and South America.

Make sure to check the hardiness zone where your chosen variety will not only survive,11 but also flourish before planting a magnolia tree.

Habitat Growing Needs of Magnolias

  • Soil: Slightly acidic, moist, and loose, well-draining soil
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Water: Magnolias need to be irrigated for the first few years, after which they are tolerant of moderate drought.

Planting Magnolia Tree Tips

The sight of where to plant magnolias needs to be picked carefully. Their widespread and shallow root systems can be damaged during transplanting. And, you’ll want to choose a location where their roots won’t have to compete with lots of others.

Larger magnolias have branches that spread 30-40 feet and provide welcome shade in larger yards. Compact, shrubby species serve as ornamental trees in many gardens.

  • When to plant: Evergreen magnolias are planted in early spring. Deciduous magnolias are planted in autumn in the South, and in spring in the North.
  • Soil needs: Well-drained and rich in organic matter. The tree also tolerates clay and sandy soils.
  • Sun exposure: Evergreen varieties grow well in full sun. Deciduous species prefer partly shaded conditions.

Magnolia Tree Care

Magnolia trees need little care and are resistant to most diseases and pests. They live for 100 years or more when given the proper growing environment.

  • Watering: Most varieties thrive in hot summers and moderate drought and thus are a resilient choice for gardens in harsher climates. Younger trees need to be watered often for several years until fully established.
  • Pruning: Magnolias need little pruning except to remove damaged branches or for aesthetic reasons. The best time to prune is in late spring or early summer soon after the tree blooms. Pruning later in the season can result in fewer blossoms the following year.
  • Fertilizing: There’s no need to fertilize if the tree is growing and flowering well. The soil needs to be tested if the tree has yellow leaves. Supplemental nutrients may be needed. It’s best to wait for spring to fertilize, then apply a slow-release fertilizer just as the tree begins to leaf out.

Magnolia Tree Facts

  • Magnolias are ancient flowering plants, their fossils 100 million years old. Magnolia trees rely on beetles for pollination rather than bees. The flowers produce large quantities of pollen that beetles use for food.
  • The oldest trees on the White House grounds are two southern magnolias planted in 1829 and 1837 by Andrew Jackson in memory of his wife, Rachel, who died shortly after he became president.
  • Magnolia flowers are a combination of sepals and petals similar in size and shape comparable to water lilies.

Magnolias bring beauty and joy wherever they grow. Their majestic flowers have decorated religious ceremonies and family occasions for millennia. Their sweet scent conjures the sanctity of life and delights our senses. Pierre Magnol is no doubt pleased with the honor bestowed on him with the magnolia tree.

Where Can I Buy Magnolia Tree Saplings?

When shopping for magnolia tree saplings, make sure to visit a trusted nursery in the region where the tree will be planted. The big box hardware stores will have the trees, but by seeking out a local grower, you’ll have a better opportunity to choose the perfect variety of magnolia for your garden.

How Much Carbon Does a Magnolia Tree Sequester? Calculate It Right Now

Want to enjoy these gorgeous trees and also reduce your eco footprint at the same time? Contact one of the most reliable carbon offset providers for tree planting for carbon offsetting that plants even more trees…and make your magnolia tree one of many you plant this year!

Frequently Asked Questions About Magnolia Tree

Can You Smoke Magnolia Bark?

Yes, but according to health professionals, it is very bad, causing all sorts of negative effects.

Is Magnolia Bark Safe for Dogs?

Magnolia bark is not considered toxic for pets, but you should always consult a licensed veterinarian (of if your pet accidentally ingests it).

How Do You Extract Magnolia Bark?

The method of extracting bark, seeds and leaves for a tincture is similar to other plants.


1Cicuzza, Daniele; Newton, Adrian; Oldfield, Sara. 2017. The Red List of Magnoliaceae. Fauna & Flora International, Cambridge, UK. Web. <https://portals.iucn.org/library/efiles/documents/RL-2007-001.pdf>

2HGTV. 2022. Magnolia Tree Types and Magnolia Care. 16 March 2022. Web. <https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/magnolia-tree-types-and-magnolia-care-pictures>

3Family Education. 2022. Magnolia Names, Meaning. 16 March 2022. Web. <https://www.familyeducation.com/baby-names/name-meaning/magnolia>

4Wayne’s Word. (2023). The Magnolia Family (Magnoliaceae). waynesword.net. Retrieved 4 April 2023, from <http://www.waynesword.net/trmar98c.htm>

5PubMed. (2023). Evaluation of short-term and subchronic toxicity of magnolia bark extract in rats. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 15 April 2023, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17692445/>

6Elsevier B.V.. (2019). A review of the phytochemistry and pharmacological activities of Magnoliae officinalis cortex. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 15 April 2023, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30818008/>

7Oxford University Press. (2021). A honokiol-enriched Magnolia officinalis Rehder & E.H. Wilson. bark extract possesses anxiolytic-like activity with neuroprotective effect through the modulation of CB1 receptor. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 15 April 2023, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33950239/>

8Elsevier B.V.. (2011) Bioactive polar compounds from stem bark of Magnolia officinalis. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 15 April 2023, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22155594/>

9Staughton, J. (3 July 2020). 29 Diet & Exercise Tips to Lose Weight. Organic Facts. Retrieved 15 April 2023, from <https://www.organicfacts.net/how-to-lose-weight.html>

10S. Karger AG, Basel. (2017). Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract Induces Depolarization of Pacemaker Potentials Through M2 and M3 Muscarinic Receptors in Cultured Murine Small Intestine Interstitial Cells of Cajal. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 15 April 2023, from <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29049988/>

11U.S Department of Agriculture. (2023). USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Agricultural Research Service. Retrieved 15 April 2023, from <https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/>

12josealbafotos. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/magnolia-flowers-park-spring-yard-1077384/>

13Gary J Stearman. Unsplash. Retrieved from <https://unsplash.com/photos/3Ku_h2_Fz1U>

14Zp. (CC BY-SA 3.0). Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnolia_x_soulangeana.jpg>

15Nennieinszweidrei. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/star-magnolia-magnolia-7858445/>

16Plant Image Library. (CC BY-SA 2.0). Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://flickr.com/photos/138014579@N08/36279091321>

17Geoff McKay. (CC BY 2.0). Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://flickr.com/photos/129472387@N07/51407678755>

18Hectonichus. (CC BY-SA 3.0). Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnoliaceae_-_Magnolia_stellata_rosea.JPG>

19James F.. (CC BY-SA 3.0). Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnolia_%C3%97_soulangeana_blossom.jpg>

20Magnus Manske. (CC BY-SA 3.0). Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnolia_x_loebneri_'Leonard_Messel'_(Magnoliaceae)_flower.jpg>

21MabelAmber. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/magnolia-flower-shrub-tree-3317190/>

22David J. Stang. (CC BY-SA 4.0). Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnolia_Ann_1zz.jpg>

23Werner Kratz. (CC BY-SA 3.0). Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yellow_Magnolia.jpg>

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25Nennieinszweidrei. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/da/photos/blomst-magnolia-stjerne-magnolia-7074049/>

26Featured Image and Species Information Image: Blossom magnolia in Poland Photo by Alexandra. (2021, August 15) / Unsplash License. Cropped and remixed with text, shape, and background elemets. Unsplash. Retrieved April 6, 2022 and November 23, 2022, from <https://unsplash.com/photos/pink-cherry-blossom-tree-under-blue-sky-during-daytime-jjoQnNS1bu4>