Monday, April 5, 2010

The Biggest Star Magnolia I've Ever Seen

So, I went to the NYBG's Orchid Show on Saturday, along with what seemed like most of the city. The conservatory was packed to the gills, but the show was lovely and one can't help but be awed by the quantity and variety of orchid species on display.

I'll certainly be posting about those plants in the weeks to come, but this week I'll focus instead on what's happening outdoors.

First up, this specimen, which is undoubtedly the biggest star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) I've ever laid eyes on. Amazing, isn't it? I've posted about Magnolia stellata before and have more than a few posts on the genus Magnolia as well. I don't have much to add today, save that I saw this at the NYBG grounds on the left of the path that leads directly to the conservatory from the cafe building. I was dumbstruck by the size and a little sheepish. I must have walked past this tree dozens of times and never paid much attention to it. Only when I saw it in bloom did I register what it was and how remarkable its size is. Shame on me.

It also made me a liar as far as my current students are concerned. Just last week we were speculating on the lifespan of this species. I guessed that they rarely last more than fifty odd years. However, this seemed to be grouped with some trees that were listed as 75-100 years old, so I would guess this specimen could easily be a septuagenarian!

1 comment:

Sally said...

I had to google it because I wanted to see a bloom close up. Don't feel bad for not knowing some details. The web had the following description, and I had to laugh because they called it a small tree and slow growing. "Magnolia stellata, sometimes called the star magnolia is a slow growing shrub or small tree native to Japan with large showy white or pink flowers in early spring before the appearance of the leaves. It is closely related to the Kobushi magnolia (Magnolia kobus), and is treated by many botanists as a variety or even a cultivar of that; it is however accepted as a distinct species in the monograph cited below."