Magnolia Tree

The Magnolia tree in the chapel border at Gressenhall is from a genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after the French botanist Pierre Magnol.

magnolia tree

Magnolia is an ancient genus. Appearing before bees did, the flowers evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. To avoid damage from pollinating beetles, the carples of Magnolia flowers are extremely tough. Fossilised specimens of Magnolia acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnolianceae dating to 95 million years ago.

The natural range of Magnolia species is a ‘disjunct distribution’, with a main centre in east and southeast Asia and a secondary centre in eastern North America, the West Indies and some species in South America.

Magnolia grandiflora is the official state flower of both Mississippi and Louisiana. The Flower’s abundance in Mississippi is reflected in its nickname of “MagnoliaState”. Historically, magnolias have long been associated with the Southern United States.

In parts of Japan, the leaves of Magnolia obovata are used for wrapping food and as cooking dishes. Magnolias are used as food plants by larvae by some species including the Giant Leopard Moth.

Magnolia art

 

Scott Tampin, Heritage Gardening Trainee, Skills for the Future

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