If you are like me then, for most of your life, you’ve thought that magnolia was nothing but a particularly boring colour of paint! It was only when I was in my 30s, and working as a postman, that I discovered magnolia is in fact a tree.
On my round there was one house which had a tree in its garden. Every summer the tree brought forth beautiful, creamy-white flowers. The name of the house was Magnolia Gardens and the tree was, of course, a magnolia.
So that you don’t grow up in ignorance (as I did), here’s a list of facts about the magnificent magnolia:
- There are more than 200 different species of magnolia in all
- Magnolia flowers are pollinated by beetles. This is because they appeared on Earth long before bees had evolved
- They originated in South East Asia but now grow on every continent except for Antarctica
- Magnolia flowers don’t produce nectar. The beetles are attracted by the copious amounts of pollen, which is a good source of food
- Some magnolias can grow as tall as 25 metres – that’s two and a half houses high!
- Magnolia leaves are dark green with a waxy coating. Some species retain these all year round whilst others are deciduous
- The fruits of a magnolia appear in the late autumn. They are cone shaped and produce bright red seeds
- The trees don’t sprout flowers until they are at least 10 years old but will then make them every year until they die aged 80-120
- Different species grow different coloured flowers. These can be white, yellow, purple, green or pink
- The trees have unusual roots. Instead of the thin, branching roots of most plants, the magnolia’s are long and rope-like
So there you have it. The magnolia is a tree – and a very interesting one at that. Not like the paint named after it at all!
If you already knew that magnolia was more than just a paint, then you obviously know your trees. Why not see just how well you know them by playing our quizzes on British trees and trees of the world? See if you can get 10-out-of-10 in both!