Footsteps in the Forest

Height: 60 feet; rarely up to 100   

Evergreen/Deciduous: Evergreen  

Lifespan: Around 100 years

Fall Foliage: Same as throughout the year

Range: Native to the southeastern coastal plain; widely planted elsewhere   

Typical Habitat: Most commonly grows as an understory species in rich and damp (though not flooded) forests; just about anywhere when planted by humans   

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The Southern Magnolia: Beloved by Humans and Wildlife

The southern magnolia is popular among both humans and the animals living near it. Birds and rodents consume its fruit, as do deer who also add the tree’s twigs to the menu. It’s also an important food source for a variety of insects, who’re drawn to the tree’s large and fragrant flowers.

But humans also love this tree. In fact, it’s a very popular ornamental tree, which is likely more common in residential and commercial areas than it is in most natural habitats. It (along with several other magnolia species) is also used for lumber, though not to the same extent as pines, oaks, or some others.  

Southern Magnolia Identification: Tips & Tricks

The southern magnolia is rarely difficult to identify. The thick, glossy leaves are fairly distinctive, as is their pyramidal growth habit. But if you need further confirmation, just look for the large, white flowers, which are present for much of the summer, or the red fruit pods, which are present a little later in the year.  

The Southern Magnolia: Additional Information

Want more information about this beautiful evergreen? Check out these southern magnolia tree resources to learn more:

  • U.S. Forest Service: Detailed information on the species, including growth data and an excellent range map.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Provides detailed information about the tree and an assortment of photos.
  • Arbor Day Foundation: Basic information about the southern magnolia (including planting info) in digestible form.

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