Magnolia liliiflora

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Mulan magnolia
Magnolienbluete freiburg.jpg
A Magnolia liliiflora flower
Scientific classification
M. liliiflora
Binomial name
Magnolia liliiflora
  • Lassonia quinquepeta Buc'hoz
  • Magnolia atropurpurea Steud.
  • Magnolia discolor Vent.
  • Magnolia gracilis Salisb.
  • Magnolia plena C.L.Peng & L.H.Yan
  • Magnolia polytepala Y.W.Law, R.Z.Zhou & R.J.Zhang
  • Magnolia purpurea Curtis
  • Magnolia quinquepeta (Buc'hoz) Dandy
  • Talauma sieboldii Miq.
  • Yulania japonica Spach
  • Yulania liliiflora (Desr.) D.L.Fu

Magnolia liliiflora (variously known by many names, including Mulan magnolia, purple magnolia, red magnolia, lily magnolia, tulip magnolia, Jane magnolia and woody-orchid) is a small tree native to southwest China (in Sichuan and Yunnan), but cultivated for centuries elsewhere in China and also Japan. It was first introduced to English-speaking countries from cultivated Japanese origins, and is thus also sometimes called Japanese magnolia, though it is not native to Japan. It is now also planted as an ornamental in North America and Europe, though rather less often than its popular hybrid (see below).

It is a deciduous shrub, exceptionally a small tree, to 4m tall (smaller than most other magnolias), and blooms profusely in early spring with large pink to purple showy flowers, before the leaf buds open.

The cultivar 'Nigra', with flowers much deeper in colour than the species, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[2]

This species is one of the parents of the very popular hybrid Saucer magnolia, M. × soulangeana, the other parent being the Yulan magnolia, M. denudata.

Magnolia liliiflora blooming: a series of photographs taken one per day in the Spring of 2006 in Gainesville, Florida
The Saucer magnolia (Magnolia × soulangeana is a hybrid of which Magnolia liliiflora is one of the parents
Saucer Magnolia -- Magnolia × soulangeana a hybrid from Magnolia liliiflora
Part of a Mulan tree in flower
Mulan tree in flower
Mulan magnolia


  1. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 29 May 2016
  2. ^ "Magnolia liliiflora 'Nigra'". Royal Horticultural Society. 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-23.


  • eFloras, Missouri Botanical Garden & Harvard University Herbaria (FOC Vol. 7 Page 51, 71, 75, 77), Magnolia liliiflora, retrieved 2009 Check date values in: |accessdate=, |date= (help)