Quarryhill Botanical Garden

Advancing the Conservation, Study, and Cultivation of the Flora of Asia

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Featured Plants

Magnolia denudata

(QBG #1994.296)


Collected as seed by the Shanghai Botanic Garden in 1992 at 600 meters elevation from a broadleaf evergreen forest in a mountainous region of Western Zhejiang Province, China.  Quarryhill received this plant in 1993 as a gift from John Domzalski, propagator and greenhouse director at the U.C. Berkeley Botanical Garden.

Magnolia denudata, also named Yulania denudata in some taxonomic treatments, is endemic to south-central and southeast China and can achieve a height of up to 25 meters and a girth of up to 1 meter dbh (diameter at breast height).  Branching is described as patent, spreading and expanding with height.  Its terminal, fuzzy, large and ovoid winter buds are covered with dense, silky hairs.  This deciduous beauty, sometimes called the Yulan Magnolia, produces a prolific show of fragrant white flowers in late winter, followed by leaves.  The white, terminal blossoms of 9 tepals are erect, often purple-tinged at the base, and somewhat tulip-shaped, 6-10 cm long and 10-16 cm in diameter.  Leaves are broadly ovate to elliptic in shape, 10-18 x 6-12 cm, with a papery texture.  Cylindrical fruits are 12-15 x 3-5 cm, consisting of brown, thickly woody carpels containing 9 x 10 mm cordate seeds.

Though quite hardy in cold climates, its early flowers may suffer from frost damage, and this magnolia is not recommended for hot, dry or windy areas.  Plant with ample space to allow for its beautiful pyramidal form.  Watering should be deep and thorough in well draining soils that are rich, with plenty of organic matter.