Magnolia liliiflora

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Magnolia liliiflora
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Magnoliids
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
Subgenus: Magnolia subg. Yulania
Section: Magnolia sect. Yulania
Subsection: Magnolia subsect. Yulania
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 is a small tree native to southwest China (in Sichuan and Yunnan), but cultivated for centuries elsewhere in China and also Japan. Variously known by many names, including Mulan magnolia, purple magnolia, red magnolia, lily magnolia, tulip magnolia and woody-orchid, 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. It is one of the slowest-growing trees, with a growth rate of 15 - 30 centimeters (6–12 in) when young.[2]

The cultivar 'Nigra', with flowers much deeper in colour than the species, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[3] It prefers an acid or neutral soil, in full sun or light shade.

This species is one of the parents of the 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


  1. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 29 May 2016
  2. ^ DeAngelis, Zack (2022-01-03). "Slowest Growing Trees (And Why They Grow So Slow) - Tree Journey". Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  3. ^ "Magnolia liliiflora 'Nigra'". Royal Horticultural Society. 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-23.

External links[edit]

  • eFloras, Missouri Botanical Garden & Harvard University Herbaria, Magnolia liliiflora, retrieved 31 December 2009