This is the SOUTHERN MAGNOLIA. The southern magnolia is a flowering, broadleaf, evergreen tree native to the southeastern United States. Southern magnolias typically grow to a height of 60 to 80 feet and a diameter of approximately 40 feet at the canopy. This tree is known for its grand, creamy white flowers which can be 8 to 9 inches in diameter and have thick, waxy petals. The flowers’ lemony, sweet smell is a hallmark characteristic of this tree. The flowers are replaced with cone-like seed pods that become the seed-bearing part of the plant. The thick and glossy leaves are dark green on the top and have a rusty brown fuzz on the bottom. The bark of the southern magnolia is brownish/gray with scales that are pressed close together.
These trees are often planted as an ornamental flowering tree because it can maintain its beautiful leaves year-round. Southern magnolias are used in the furniture industry because their wood is strong and sturdy.
In 1989, the movie “Steel Magnolias” told the story of six Southern women who endured and rose above hardships. A “steel magnolia” is a popular phrase used to describe the strength of a Southern woman. The magnolia’s flowers are the state flowers of both Mississippi and Louisiana.