Umbrella magnolia is a 15 to 30 foot high tree native to the southeastern United States found throughout the Appalachian Mountains. The very large leaves appear in clusters at the ends of branches, and resemble an umbrella. Large, showy spring flowers, rosy-red fruits, and smooth gray bark add to the four-seasons of interest.
All common names:
- Residential and parks
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- North America
- Shade tree,
- medium tree (25-40 feet),
- Small tree (15-25 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
- Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Alkaline soil
- Moderately Tolerant
- May be difficult to find in nurseries
- Spring blossoms,
- Fall color,
- Showy fruit,
- Showy flowers
Seasons of Interest:
- early spring,
- late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Insect pollinators,
- Small mammals
Tree & Plant Care
This shallow rooted plant has a fleshy root system and is best planted in spring.
Avoid windy sites to prevent tearing of the large leaves.
Water in dry periods and apply a layer of organic mulch to moderate a cool root environment and conserve moisture.
Prune dead wood and crossing branches as needed.
Disease, pests, and problems
Flowers are often damaged by spring frosts and freezes.
Magnolia scale and verticillium wilt are potential problems.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the southeastern United States.
Bark color and texture
The gray bark is very smooth.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
The alternate leaves may be up to 2 feet long. They are crowded near the ends of stems, giving an umbrella-like appearance.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Creamy white flowers are large (up to 10 inches across) and have an unpleasant odor.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
A 4 to 6 inch long aggregate fruit with a knobby surface, reddish-orange seeds emerge from slits in August and September.