Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Japanese Magnolia

Among the first flowers that announce the near arrival of spring is the Japanese magnolia (Magnolia x Soulangiana).  Although I might have seen the flowers many times in the past, the first time I came close (close-up) to one was when we visited the mission in San Luis Obispo.  There at the entrance was this tree with a stunning display of pink inflorescence while everything else still looked gray.

The Japanese magnolia is also commonly known as the saucer magnolia.  The huge flowers resemble the shape of tulip flowers that sometimes it is also referred to as tulip tree.  However, be careful not to mistake it with the African Tulip Tree (Spathodea campanulata) or the other Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).

Unlike the Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) which is an evergreen, the Japanese magnolia is a deciduous plant meaning they lose their leaves in the winter.  When the tree resumes its growth, the flowers emerge first making it a beautiful specimen plant. 

The following pictures were taken in El Dorado Hills near the library.

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