Magnolia grandiflora Southern Magnolia,
Bull Bay
Cultivar Goliath in Bodnant Garden, Wales 2002

Family: Magnoliaceae

Origin: SE USA

A truly magnificent large evergreen, which will make a massive, round-headed shrub or short-trunked tree up to 30m tall; often grown as a wall shrub. The thick, leathery leaves are elliptical and up to 20 cm long, shiny, dark green above and rust-red hairy below, at least when young. In summer and early autumn, huge creamy-white flowers, up to 25 cm across, are held upright on the branches; the 9-12 'petals' are long-oval, fleshy, around 12 x 9 cm, and form a cup around the purple filaments; the flowers are very fragrant.

Glenveagh, Co Donegal 2004

This species has given rise to many cultivars; the top illustration here is of a plant in Bodnant Garden in N Wales labelled Magnolia grandiflora 'Goliath'. This variety is more bushy than the type, with shorter, broader leaves, with a blistered upper surface and a hairless undersurface.

Other photographs are of a tree at Glenveagh, Co Donegal.

Introduced in 1724.

Glenveagh, Co Donegal 2004

Named for Pierre Magnol (1638-1715), Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanic Gardens at Montpellier in France; grandiflora refers to the large flowers.

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