Magnolia is a genus in the family Magnoliaceae. Magnolia is named after Pierre Magnol (1638-1715). He was a French Botanist. The genus Magnolia is comprised of three subgenera Magnolia and Yulania and Gynopodium. Magnolia subgenera contain the American evergreen species Magnolia grandiflora. Yulania comprises the Asiatic species of Magnolia which deciduous. Magnolia genus includes about 210 species.
Magnolia is an ancient genus. They have found fossilized specimens of Magnolia acuminata which are from 20 million ago. Charles Plumier (1646-1704) described Magnolia in his book Genera.
Magnolia petals are enclosed in bracts instead of sepals. Magnolia’s natural range includes first Asia and second the Americas. The flowers are fragrant and are usually bowl-shaped or star-shaped. The colors range from white to pink, purple, and yellow. They produce cone-like fruits.
Magnolias like full sun to partial shade. They grow in clay, loam, or sand soils but do better in well-drained soil. Magnolia wood bark is easily damaged.
They consume flowers of some species of Magnolia. In England they make a pickle out of Magnolia petals. And in Asia they use the buds to spice rice. In Japan they boil the leaves and buds as vegetables. They also use the older leaves by grounding them into powder and using them as spice.