Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Perfection! Magnolia Grandiflora 'Edith Bogue'

Southern Magnolia

Magnolia Grandiflora 'Edith Bogue'.

I was cleaning the fish pond filter when I noticed a second flower on the Magnolia 'Edith Bogue' just opening. As the sun rose the flower started to open very quickly so I had to grab my camera before the petals lay flat.

The tree is ailing. The half of the bark on the tree was stripped off. I don't think it was deer damage but I surmised it may have been a late cold snap after the sap was rising, causing the fluid in the cambium to freeze and expand. I almost took the tree out because of the damage and how the tree was obviously affected with small withered leaves but luckily we didn't have anything to replace it so we just left it to see how it fared this year. Perhaps because of the stress, the few flowers on the tree are huge this year. I don't have large hands but the flowers easily span 10" or more across. And it does have a very nice scent too.

In response to Chey's comment that the Magnolia flowers look primitive, I did a quick Wikipedia query and indeed the Magnolias are a very primitive form of plant. Fossils of the plant have been dated to 95 million years ago. The flowers are pre-bees and the tough pistils and stamens (see detail photo) were formed to be pollinated by beetles. The flowers also lack sepals and petals but instead have tepals (from Wikipedia: "Tepals are elements of the perianth, or outer part of a flower, which include the petals or sepals. The term tepal is usually used when all segments of the perianth are of similar shape and color, or undifferentiated. When different types of organs can be distinguished, they are referred to as petals and sepals.".


Blogger Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Beautiful pictures.

1:20 PM  
Blogger chey said...

What a beautiful bloom! Magnolias are such primitive looking flowers.Great shots!!

5:04 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Thank you Aunt Debbi. The Magnolia flower made it easy to take a good photo.


Hi Chey,
They are indeed primitive flowers. Fossils have been dated back to 95 million years. The close up of the pistil and stamens really shows the primitive aspect of the flowers. Thanks.

6:53 PM  
Blogger IBOY said...

I've mulled over trying EB for years, but if you got bark split in zone 6, maybe not! I have enough trouble with JM's.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Don,
Don't know if it's freezing that caused the damage but I can't think of anything else. I don't remember running into it with the mower or any other large tool. It could be disease but I somehow doubt it because Magnolias are usually very disease free. I'll try to take a picture of it. Maybe someone will know if it is freezing damage when the sap was running.

Looked up Magnolia disease and this is what popped up, first on the list.

from the Cornell U. website.

Also funny you should mention JMs. A couple of our JMs also show this same split bark condition. One already had half of the bark from the lower trunk off the tree but I bought it anyway at an end of year sale at 75% off the regular price and another fairly old red dissectum showed this condition after 3 years in the ground. Only the dissectums have this condition and the 75% tree remains quite healthy. I hope in time the wound will heal.

3:57 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Wow, just beautiful! I love the hand in the picture for scale:) Not only is the bloom beautiful, but I love the glossy leaves~

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Layanee said...

A great picture of Edith Bogue. The flower looks so waxy and pure. I don't have one but that one is hardy to zone 5 I think. I love the magnolia leaves.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Entangled said...

We've been noticing the M. grandifloras in bloom for a few weeks here in central VA. I know the flowers are big (grandiflora and all that) but seeing your hand next to the flower really brings home the proportions.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Jessica,
I guess I could've used my head instead but I was perched precariously on a ladder so it was easier to use my hand! ;) Thanks for stopping by.


Hi Layanee,
Thanks. The petals or I guess more correctly tepals, on the magnolia are rather thick and they do look wax like. Edith Bogue is supposed to be the hardiest of the M. grandifloras. I see a few large specimen trees around town and was amazed the southern evergreen magnolia could survive in this USDA zone 6 when we moved here. But seeing the damaged bark of our tree ... well I don't know. Thanks for your comment.


Hi Entangled,
I think my smallish hand accentuates the size of the flower ;) As I mentioned to Jessica, I should have used my pin head in comparison - then the flower would have looked positively huge! :) This tree would really thrive in VA. I think our springs are too variable in temperature for this tree to grow well.

I saw some flowers of the Big Leaf Magnolia, M. macrophylla when we were in NC and I believe they were as large or larger than the M. grandiflora. There's a M. macrophylla not more than a couple of hundred feet from our home but the tree is so big and tall I couldn't get an idea of how large the flowers were.

4:13 AM  
Blogger Annie in Austin said...

The photo of the flower alone was beautiful - but the one in comparison to a hand was almost shocking!
That's an incredible flower, Ki - and even if there were only a couple of them, you had quite a show.

You've probably read about the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, part of Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, and magnolias are part of the .
This is from their website:

The Harman has a large collection of many rare and unusual plants that evolved by the Cretaceous period, approximately 100 million years ago.

There were four Magnolia species on the Flora & Fauna page.

#1 Magnolia grandiflora var. 'Little Gem' - Little gem southern magnolia
#2 Magnolia stellata 'Leonard Messil'
#3 Magnolia tamaulipana - Tamaulipis magnolia
#4 Magnolia virginiana - Sweet bay magnolia.

One of the reasons we bought a 'Little Gem' was that we admired them at the Hartman.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

6:56 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Annie,
Unfortunately I missed seeing the Zilker Botanical Garden. The M. tamaulipis is new to me, I have not heard of it before.

When I saw your 'Little Gem' in flower, I thought that was the tree we should have bought instead of the 'Edith Bogue'. At the time our 'EB' was growing at a very fast rate and would have crowded out several other trees and shrubs in quick order. Now with the trunk damage, the tree growth has slowed drastically. An unfortunate turn of events for the tree but much more friendly to the neighboring plants. I just hope it survives.

The 'Little Gem' trees we saw last year in NC were not little. Most were about 20' tall! Lovely shaped tree and beautiful flowers. You made a good choice.

Thanks for your comment and the Hartman Prehistoric Garden link!

4:16 AM  
Blogger joey said...

Amazing photos, Ki.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Thanks Joey. Another one is blooming now - looks even bigger than the one pictured with my hand. I'll have to climb than ladder again!

7:09 PM  

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