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Michelia alba (Campii).jpg
Michelia × alba
Scientific classification


about 50; see text

Michelia is a historical genus of flowering plants belonging to the Magnolia family (Magnoliaceae). The genus included about 50 species of evergreen trees and shrubs, native to tropical and subtropical south and southeast Asia (Indomalaya), including southern China. Today it is regarded as a synonym of Magnolia.[1]


The Magnoliaceae are an ancient family; fossil plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae date back 95 million years. A primitive aspect of the Magnolia family is that their large, cup-shaped flowers lack distinct petals or sepals. The large non-specialized flower parts, resembling petals, are called tepals.

The leaves, flowers, and form of Michelia resemble Magnolia, but the blossoms of Michelia generally form clusters among the leaves, rather than singly at the branch ends as Magnolia does.


Several of the larger species are locally important sources of timber. Some species, including the champak (Michelia champaca) and Michelia doltsopa are grown for their flowers, both on the tree and as cut flowers. Champak flowers are also used to produce an essential oil for perfume. A few species have been introduced to gardens or as street trees outside of the Indomalaya region, including Michelia figo, M. doltsopa, and M. champaca. The genus is named after the Florentine botanist Pietro Antonio Micheli (1679–1737). They grow to the height of 10–45 metres

Recent changes in classification[edit]

Morphological data[2] and molecular data[3][4] recently showed that the genus Michelia is very closely related to subgenus Yulania of genus Magnolia. Many botanists now treat the genus Michelia accordingly. New combinations of names have been provided for. For further information see under genus Magnolia.

Michelia species[edit]

Flower and leaves of Michelia champaca L.


  1. ^ Richard B. Figlar. "A Brief Taxonomic History of Magnolia".
  2. ^ Figlar, R. B. (2000). "Proleptic branch initiation in Michelia and Magnolia subgenus Yulania provides basis for combinations in subfamily Magnolioideae". In Liu Yu-hu; et al. (eds.). Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Family Magnoliaceae. Beijing: Science Press. pp. 14–25.
  3. ^ Azuma, Hiroshi; Thien, Leonard B; Kawano, Shoichi (September 1999). "Molecular Phylogeny of Magnolia (Magnoliaceae) Inferred from cpDNA Sequences and Evolutionary Divergence of the Floral Scents". Journal of Plant Research. 112 (3): 291–306. doi:10.1007/PL00013885. S2CID 206862607.
  4. ^ Kim, S; Park, CW; Kim, YD; Suh, Y (April 2001). "Phylogenetic relationships in family Magnoliaceae inferred from ndhF sequences". American Journal of Botany. 88 (4): 717–28. doi:10.2307/2657073. JSTOR 2657073. PMID 11302859.
  5. ^ a b c Li, J. (1997). "Some notes on Magnoliaceae from China". Acta Botanica Yunnanica. 19 (2): 131–138.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Chen, B. L.; Nooteboom, H. P. (1993). "Notes on Magnoliaceae III, The Magnoliaceae of China". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 80 (4): 999–1104. doi:10.2307/2399942. JSTOR 2399942.
  7. ^ Gagnepain, F. (1939). "Magnoliacées nouvelles ou litigieuses". Notulae Systematicae. 8 (1): 63–65.
  8. ^ Baillon, H. E. (1866). "Mémoire sur la famille des Magnoliacées". Adansonia. 7: 1–16, 65–69.
  9. ^ Xia, N. H.; Deng, Y. F. (2002). "Notes on Magnoliaceae". Journal of Tropical and Subtropical Botany. 10 (2): 128–132.
  10. ^ a b Sima, Y.-K. (2001). "Some Notes on Magnolia Subgenus Michelia from China". Yunnan Forestry Science and Technology. 2: 29–35.

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