Magnolia, one of the great ancient pollinators…


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Currently sold out of magnolias for 2017

Availability for 2018:  Butterflies, Vulcan, Cleopatra, Galaxy, Black Tulip, Blushing Belle, Yellow Bird, Elizabeth... more anticipated.

Did you Know?

Magnolia Fossils

The magnolia tree has been found in fossils dating back 36 million to 58  million years ago.  Theories believe that the Ice Age that struck much of Europe destroyed the magnolia in the region; however, the magnolias of Asia and the Americas survived. The discovery of fossilized remains of magnolia trees indicate that they date back to the Tertiary Period, which possibly is an unbelievable 100 million years earlier. This proves that these plants are real survivors, having endured numerous adverse conditions. During the Tertiary Period,  the Arctic Circle was not what it is today, but its climatic conditions  were similar to what is prevalent in Europe now.  

Earliest Record

The earliest western record of magnolias in cultivation is found in  Aztec history at the time of Montezuma where there are illustrations of  what we now know to be the very rare Magnolia dealbata.   This plant  survives only in a few places in the wild and, although climate change  is largely to blame, the natives cut the flowers for festivals and this  prevents the plants seeding.   It was found by a Spanish explorer called  Hernandez who was commissioned by Philip II of Spain and whose work was  published in 1651.  

European Discovery

According to the University of Florida, the first magnolia tree was  discovered by Europeans in 1688 in the Americas. The Sweet Bay Magnolia  was the species found and first introduced to Europe.  This species was named Pierre Magnol after a 17th century French botanist when first introduced to Europe.  Numerous Asian magnolia species were first introduced to the Americas in  1780.  Cultivation of the magnolia became widespread and numerous  species began to be bred that offered superior flower production.  Magnolias trees were commonly planted in front of homesteads across the  southern United States for their beauty.  

Health Properties

Some of the earliest references to magnolias in literature refer to their purported medicinal properties.  The bark and flower buds of magnolia from Magnolia officinalis has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine.  They have demonstrated anti-anxiety and anti-angiogenic properties. The flower buds of magnolia salicifolia are used in Asia to treat headaches and allergies.  A 1985 study reports on the potential use of this drug  in the treatment of cancer.   Another recent study found that tonics  from the bark of Magnolia officinalis lessen tremor in patients with  Parkinsons disease.   Who knows what may yet be discovered. 

Early Pollinators

It is interesting to note that magnolias emerged much before bees existed; hence, the blooms of magnolia were pollinated by beetles.  Since magnolias are ancient plants, magnolias slowly changed their flowers to become more attractive to bees to ensure successful  pollination and now bees are the main pollinators.  The seed of the magnolia is the favorite of many birds and squirrels and currently acts as another pollinator as well.