Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bigleaf Magnolia

We've been surprised this year by our Bigleaf Magnolia.  First, way back in June, it bloomed for the first time.  Now it has the most interesting, enormous seed pod.  A really interesting and unusual tree in several ways.

It started back in June, when about 6 of these enormous flower buds showed up on the small tree. 

Bigleaf Magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla, is known (surprise, surprise), for its big leaves.  In fact they are giant leaves!

These leaves are over 6" wide, and about 18" long.  They are described as the largest leaves of any tree in North America.


This is the tree when the blooms came out.  It remained a small shrub for several years, and appeared to get frozen off each winter at first.  Only in the past 2-3 years has it grown up to its current 8-10 feet.

The flowers are huge too - known as the largest flowers of any tree in North America.  I should have got the step ladder out to get a view of the bloom from above.

My arm will help you judge the size of these leaves and the flower.

I did like this view from below.  I was surprised to read that the original range of the Bigleaf Magnolia is across Mississippi and Alabama, but in spite of that it is quite hardy, all the way to Zone 5 if you know your plant hardiness zones.  That lets it survive in the northern states, and here in southern Ontario.

The enormous seed pod is just as interesting as the enormous leaves and flowers.  This was two weeks ago.

Now the seed pod has opened up and started releasing its seeds.

The cells of the seed pod open up and the seeds fall out, but hang briefly in mid-air by an almost invisible filament.

We've got some unusual 'Carolinian' trees on our property, but this one beats them all!

Four sleeps left now!

20 comments:

  1. The scent of the magnolia is just divine.

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  2. I don't think I've ever seen the seed pod of a magnolia! You will miss this tree!

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  3. What a beautiful tree! I especially love those seed pods. Great pictures, FG. :-)

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  4. Will a tree grow from a seed? Sleep well, the excitement will start so soon.

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  5. My goodness! Those leaves are enormous. I must look out for this tree when I next visit the botanic gardens in Cambridge; they have quite a selection of the hardier magnolias.

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  6. I'm always surprised when I see a Magnolia in the north. They seem like such a southern tree. - Margy

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  7. That is one magnificent tree, love you photos of it.

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  8. Hello, they are one of my favorite trees. They are growing wild in the woods next to our home. The flowers are lovely. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

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  9. Wow! these are gorgeous! And huge!

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  10. I did not know that shrub/tree, and certainly that it would grow this far north. Love the seed pods

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  11. The seed pods are particularly colourful!

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  12. What a beauty! I hope you are taking a seed head with you to the new place.

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  13. Wow what an interesting tree/shrub. Have never seen one. Those leaves and flowers sure are big!!

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  14. Pretty flower and interesting seed pod.

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  16. This is a beautiful series for this tree. I love it.

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  17. What a gorgeous plant! The seed pods are amazing and such a beautiful colour.

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  18. What a wonderful tree! I hope you saved a few seeds to relocate to your new place?

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  19. What a cool plant and wow that last shot is amazing!

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