February 8
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Plant Genus of the family Magnoliaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Liriodendron This genus in the magnolia family was believed to consist of a single species native to North America until a second similar species was found in China. Both form quite tall, fast-growing, deciduous trees with long straight trunks and unusually shaped 3-lobed leaves that turn a translucent yellow in autumn. The greenish bell-shaped flowers have a tangerine tint at the base of the petals. They somewhat resemble a tulip, hence the common name tulip tree. Capsule-like fruit follow. Hybrids between the 2 species are in cultivation. CULTIVATION: Tulip trees grow best in a fertile soil, in a cool climate in partial shade, with protection from drying winds. Some shaping of the plant in the early stages to establish a single trunk may be necessary. Propagate from seed sown in a position protected from winter frosts. Cultivars may be apical-grafted in early spring onto 1- or 2-year-old seedling understocks.
Magnolia Comprising around 100 species and countless cultivars, this genus within the family Magnoliaceae occurs naturally throughout Asia and North America. With both evergreen and deciduous species, many are very large trees. The genus is appreciated particularly for the big simple leaves and large handsome flowers of most species. The flowers are primitive, pollinated largely by beetles, and their simplicity, often seen to advantage on bare limbs before foliage appears, contributes to their appeal. Many are fragrant, the standout being the voluptuous evergreen southern magnolia of the USA (Magnolia grandiflora); but deciduous species are also well represented. Fruits are often cone-like showy clusters, pink or red with colorful seeds, sometimes suspended on fine threads which add to the interest. CULTIVATION: Although some species are lime tolerant, most prefer well-drained acid soils rich in humus. Pruning is generally unnecessary and, in fact, can destroy the natural charming habit of most species. They are generally fast growing and their surface fleshy roots are easily damaged by cultivation. For this reason they are best left undisturbed. Wind and late frosts can also damage the large flowers, so a sheltered spot is best for these plants. Light shade is generally ideal. Propagate by taking cuttings in summer, or sowing seed in autumn. Grafting should be carried out in winter.

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