Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


This article refers to the botanical term. For other uses, see Magnolia (disambiguation).

Magnolia grandiflora
Southern magnolia
A large tree
Hemingway, South Carolina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
many: see text

Magnolia is a large genus of about 120 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae.

Magnolia species are mainly found in eastern North America, Central America and east and southeast Asia, although some are also found in South America.

The genus is named after Pierre Magnol, a botanist from Montpellier in France. The first species belonging to this genus to be identified was M. virginiana (Sweetbay magnolia), found by missionaries sent to North America in the 1680s. This was followed by M. grandiflora early in the 18th century, another North American plant.

Magnolia is an ancient genus. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. As a result, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are tough to avoid damage. Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae back to 95 million years ago. Another primitive aspect of Magnolias are their lack of distinct sepals or petals. The term tepal has been coined to refer to the intermediate element that the Magnolia has instead.

Table of contents
1 Classification and selected species of Magnolia
2 Uses
3 Reference

Classification and selected species of Magnolia


In general, Magnolia is a genus which has attracted a lot of horticultural interest. Hybridisation has been immensely successful in combining the best aspects of different species to give plants which flower at an earlier age than the species themselves, as well as having more impressive flowers. One of the most popular garden magnolias is a hybrid, M. x soulangeana (Saucer magnolia; hybrid M. liliiflora x M. denudata).

The bark from M. officinalis has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as "houpu". In Japan, M. obvata has been used in a similar manner. The aromatic bark contains magnolol and honokiol, two polyphenolic compounds that have demonstrated anti-anxiety and anti-angiogenic properties. Magnolia bark also has been shown to reduce allergic and asthmatic reactions.

Two Magnolias: Magnolia_Nbr_2 Boston, Massachusetts, May, 2004


Hunt, D. (ed). 1998. Magnolias and their allies. International Dendrology Society & Magnolia Society.
ISBN 0-9517234-8-0