MAGNOLIA continued
last updated 30/10/2014

NEW MAGNOLIA laevifolia (= Michelia yunnanensis)

MAGNOLIA 'Laura Saylor'
(M. denudata 'Sawada's Pink' x M. sprengeri 'Diva') This lovely 1976 hybrid from Phil Savage forms a tall, erect tree with smooth pale grey bark, and brown twigs. The leaves are similar to those of ‘Diva’ but are about three quarters of the size. The large, upright flowers have 9-12 tepals that are bright pink outside, white shaded with pink inside, and do not open below horizontal.

Believed to be a hybrid between M. cylindrica and M. campbellii var. alba, it freely produces pure white cup and saucer flowers, each up to 23cm across.

(M. sprengeri ‘Diva’ x M. denudata) This exceptionally hardy tree produces large flowers to nearly 25cm across in mid-to late April. They are red-purple at the base, paling towards the tip of each tepal, and white within. The overall soft pink effect is enhanced by pink and ivory stamens.

MAGNOLIA 'Lemon Star' (syn. 'Swedish Star')
(M. acuminata x M. kobus 'Norman Gould') The best of seven seedlings, this August Kehr hybrid, which flowered for the first time at Wespelaar Arboretum, Belgium in 2000, has exciting potential. Intermediate between its parents, the fragrant flowers are greenish yellow at first, becoming pale later, and have been described as resembling “lemon ice-cream”. The 6 tepals are quite narrow, giving the plant a light and airy feel when in flower. Peaking in late April, you can expect to enjoy the floral display for about a month. Surprisingly good autumn colour is an unexpected bonus. This first-rate introduction should prove to have excellent hardiness and tolerance too.

MAGNOLIA 'Lennarth Jonsson'
(M. acuminata ‘Fertile Myrtle’ x M. campbellii ‘Queen Caroline’) A cross by Phil Savage, using pollen sent by Lennarth Jonsson. This selection always seems to produce very “perfect” heavily textured flowers. The broad, almost rounded tepals are pink on the outside, with darker purple flushing from the base, whilst opening to reveal an almost pure white interior. Very beautiful.

MAGNOLIA liliiflora 'Darkest Purple'

MAGNOLIA 'Limelight'
(M. acuminata ssp. subcordata x M. 'Big Pink') (Japanese Form) A superb recent selection developing into a vigorous multistemmed tree. Long greenish yellow to chartreuse pointed, tulip shaped flower buds.

Magnolia x loebneri 

I want to come back to this when I have a few minutes to spare, and tell you about this brilliant group. But for now, suffice it to say that they are hybrids between M. kobus and M. stellata. In the past some authorities have lumped M. stellata into M. kobus as a subspecies, so they are clearly closely related. some of these hybrids have the narrow strap-like leaf typical of the stellata parent, whilst at the other end of the scale some are closer to M. kobus. Anyway, I want to convey how beautiful, but how downright useful these guys are: that they will tolerate a much wider range of soil conditions that many magnolias, and how hardy they are. That even though they flower early in the season, they are remarkably frost hardy. I've got quite a collection now, though not all are in production yet...

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Donna'
There are a number of cultivars of Magnolia x loebneri, which are derived from crosses between the various forms of M. stellata and M. kobus. I have great enthusiasm for them as a group since they make superlative hardy trees for small gardens. They flower relatively late in the spring and are tolerant of less ideal soil conditions. Perfect therefore for the more challenging site. This particular cultivar produces large flat white flowers, to 20 cm across. 

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Encore
An open pollinated ‘Ballerina’ seedling which is very slow-growing and bushy. Very floriferous, the buds form in multiples of 1-4 on the tips of the twigs as well as along the twigs themselves; opening to white flowers, tinged with pink, each with 18-25 petals.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Green Mist'
Such pretty flowers, being pristine white, shading to lime green at the base.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Lesley Jane'
A seedling of ‘Leonard Messel’ selected in Wales for its superior growth and form, happily becoming a small, single-stemmed, upright branched tree. By comparison with its parent, it has more tepals (14-17) which are much less floppy. These are red-purple when they first emerge, but this reduces first to a basal stripe and then disappears, such that the fully mature flowers are pure white.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ 

Coming soon...

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Lucy Carlson'
(M. x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ x M. salicifolia) I love this group of magnolias. This upright growing small tree has proportionally smaller leaves, which inherit the aroma of aniseed from M. salicifolia. In bud the flowers are deep pink, but they lighten in colour as they open to become flushed pink on the outside and almost white within. I admit that due to the M. salicifolia parentage, this is not a true loebneri hybrid and should therefore be classified simply as M. 'Lucy Carlson'. It's all so complicated!

MAGNOLIA 'Maxine Merrill'
(M. acuminata ‘Miss Honeybee’ x M. x loebneri ‘Merrill’) I mentally classify this one aesthetically here within the x loebneri group, although technically that is not the case - since it also benefits from M. acuminata in its parentage, it is correctly simply M. 'Maxine Merrill'. It is strongly reminiscent of this group in several ways: the general shape, size and habit, its tolerance of less than perfect conditions, as well as the sturdy, 6-petalled flowers which, uniquely in this company, are yellow.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Merrill'

Coming soon...

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Neil McEaharn'

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Pink Cloud'
A gorgeous selection; the petals are striped raspberry pink on the backs, whilst being almost pure white within. Thus the pink colour is most evident whilst the flowers are still in bud. The central boss of stamens is much more prominent than in other cultivars. I have to say that the name (which of course I didn’t give it!) is a little misleading though, since the over-riding effect of the fully open flowers is not truly pink.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Pirouette'
Unusually, the outer tepals of this white flowered seedling from ‘Ballerina’ are shorter than the inner ones, resulting in a smaller flower which rarely exceeds 10cm across. Nevertheless, they have good substance and are delightful in their citrus-scented abundance. Compact habit to perhaps 3m tall.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Powder Puff'

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Raspberry Fun'

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Snowdrift'
By comparison with the familiar M. stellata, the tree is larger, and so are the white flowers; each one having 12 tepals.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Star Bright'
There is confusion as to whether this pretty cultivar should be attributed to M. x loebneri or M. stellata. Either way, the white flowers do resemble those of the latter. It appears to have originated on the Tom Dodd Nursery, Alabama, USA

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'White Stardust'
Strong growing selection with a more tree-like form than some within this group, that has white flowers with 14-15 tepals. Excellent dark green foliage.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Wildcat'
Selected from a batch of seed of M. kobus var. borealis, this lovely form blooms for as much as 6 weeks. When the soft pink blooms open, they have so many petals (over 50) that they resemble pompom chrysanthemums over 10cm across.

MAGNOLIA x loebneri 'Willowwood'
A lovely selection, the resplendent white flowers have 11-14 petals and it is very free flowering.

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