Monday, January 20, 2020

Plants in Early American Gardens - Bare Root Large-leaved Magnolia

Bare Root Large-leaved Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla)

This spectacular but rare North American species is native to Central and Western Florida to Western Louisiana, North to North Carolina and the valley of the Green River, Kentucky. The showy blossoms have a distinctive purple spot at the base of each petal. 

It was discovered in June 1795, while in full flower, by the French naturalist, AndrĂ© Michaux, during his exploration of the Carolina Piedmont regions near Charlotte, North Carolina. This awe-inspiring tree was introduced around 1800 and created quite a sensation in France. The Empress Josephine was among the first to have this magnificent tree in her garden. 

In 1890, Peter Henderson described a 50-year old specimen planted on an estate in Queens, New York: “There is upon this tree every year hundreds of flowers, and it is no less conspicuous in autumn, with its large heads of bright scarlet fruit.”

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