Thursday, April 2, 2009

Magnolia stellata

This is a fairly perfect specimen of star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, growing in the East Village.

Star magnolia blooms, in general, about 2 weeks or so earlier than saucer magnolia. They are both fabulous spring plants.


Star magnolia, is in that weird category of small tree/large shrub. Too small for a tree, too big for a shrub. I try to sidestep these definitions as often as possible because there is no clear cut answer, though I lean to categorize this as a tree.



Magnolia is one of the oldest genera of flowering plants, indeed Magnoliaphyta is the phylum that includes most angiosperms.


Stellata, as one can guess, means star-like and refers to the somewhat starry, strappy tepals of this flower. Tepals, like bracts, are another evolved versions of plant strucutures that, while not connected to the sexual properties of a flower, are key in attracting the right pollinators and ensuring the plant survives and reproduces.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Christian said...

That is not a fairly perfect specimen of Magnolia Stellata, the numerous turned leaders, as well as the imperfect branch structure detract from the desirable canopy.

The Star Magnolia remains a woderful plant, and a much more refined reminder of spring compared to something like a forsythia.

I would love to see you opinion on Magnolia Grandiflora in our climate. As horticulturists many times we disagree but I am a true fan of your blog.

Jennifer G. Horn said...

I suppose here in NY, our definition of 'fairly perfect' is on a sliding scale! So glad to know you both enjoy the site!

M. grandiflora is a favorite. I was just in DC and was practically wistful for such wonderful trees.

Anonymous said...

I won't ever plant a bradford pear. For reals.