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Magnolia × soulangeana
Often erroneously called Tulip Tree, the dramatic Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana) does have large upright blossoms that look somewhat like tulips. Ironically, the real Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipfera) has green flowers that are not particularly showy. These spectacular trees begin blooming early in winter and in one of nature's crueler arrangements, bloom right in the midst of the rainy season, so that the petals get regularly knocked off prematurely. Saucer Magnolia is a popular flowering accent tree, usually as a multi-trunk or low-branching specimen for gardens or lawns. It requires loose, fertile soil and moderate moisture, where it flowers best in full sun. It blooms at a young age. Many named varieties are available, with white, pink and purplish or lilac flowers. It may eventually require regularly scheduled light top trimming (but not necessarily shearing) of vigorous top shoots to maintain its height below 25'. Has fragrant flower. Native to France. The period of bloom is short, but so compelling that the Saucer Magnolia is often used in gardens as a specimen tree where it can be showcased alone or against a background. The branch structure is also graceful so that it provides interest even during the "off-season". Minor down sides are some susceptibility to white fly and salt burn in Southern California.
Likes moist Clay, Loam or Sandy medium with a Highly Acidic to Slightly Alkaline soils. A full sun or partial shade exposure is preferred. This one volunteered in my front yard under a shady canopy of a camellia bush and azaleas. We then transplanted it to the back yard where it has thrived ever since.
Other names include...Saucer Magnolia, Chinese Magnolia, Japanese Magnolia