Magnolia kobus

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Kobus magnolia
Magnolia kobus borealis.jpg
Magnolia kobus var. borealis[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
Species: M. kobus
Binomial name
Magnolia kobus

Magnolia kobus, known as mokryeon,[2] kobus magnolia,[2] or kobushi magnolia,[citation needed] is a species of Magnolia native to East Asia (Japan and Korea)[3] and occasionally cultivated in temperate areas.[4] It is a deciduous, small to tall tree which has a slow rate of growth but can reach 8–15 m (25–75 ft) in height and up to 10 m (35 ft) in spread.


Two varieties of Magnolia kobus are recognized by some sources, such as Hortus Third,[4] with var. borealis being a tree to 25 m (75 ft) high, with leaves to 15 cm (6 in) long, and var. kobus, a tree to 10 m (30 ft) high,with leaves to 10 cm (4 in) long.

Magnolia kobus is classified within Magnolia subgenus Yulania.

The kobus magnolia is closely related to the star magnolia (Magnolia stellata), and some authorities consider the star magnolia to be a variety of M. kobus, M. kobus var. stellata.


Magnolia kobus blooms in the early spring, bearing pleasantly fragrant white flowers with hints of pale pink about 10 cm (4 in) in diameter. The flowers are produced before the leaves, as with most members of Magnolia subgenus Yulania. Young trees do not flower.

The summer foliage of the kobus magnolia is dark green. Leaves have an obovate shape with a pointed tip, a smooth, or glabrous, leaf underside, and smooth, even edges. Leaves are 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long, in an alternating arrangement. In autumn, the leaves take on a yellow color and drop from the tree.

Magnolia kobus in flower, with a singular blossom in the foreground eclipsing an array of blossoms in the midground, over the backdrop of a waterway. Photographed in the Kantō region of Japan

The fruit of the kobus magnolia grows in groups of small red seeds. The groupings are one to three inches in size, and the seeds attract birds.

Older bark, such as that of the trunk, is grey-brown, while new stems are green with small brown spots. There is a strong odor to broken branches or twigs.

A seed estimated to be 2,000 years old was found in a pit in the ancient bronze-age village of Asada. The archaeologists planted the seed thinking that surely it wouldn't grow but they were wrong. Unlike the other Magnolia trees it had 7 or 8 petals on its blossoms rather than six.[5][6]


The kobus magnolia prefers full sun to partial shade, rich, well-drained soil, and is tolerant of acidic soils. It can be propagated either by seed or by cuttings.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Cirrus Digital: Northern Japanese Magnolia Magnolia kobus
  2. ^ a b English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 552. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2017 – via Korea Forest Service.
  3. ^ "Magnolia kobus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  4. ^ a b Bailey, Liberty Hyde & Ethel Zoe Bailey (1976). Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of the Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada. Revised and expanded by the staff of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. New York: MacMillan (and Collier MacMillan, London). pp. xiv + 1290.
  5. ^ Wood, Caroline (March 18, 2016). "Ageing - The long and the short of it". SEB Magazine. The Society for Experimental Biology. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  6. ^ Private Life of Plants at BBC Programmes (at 45 min of the first episode "Travelling")

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