Magnolia ashei

Ashe Magnolia, Ashe's Magnolia

  • Magnolia ashei

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Min. hardiness zone:
Item ID:

Growing Info

Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 60 days
Germination: can be sown outdoors in the fall for spring germination, sow seed 1/2" deep, keep moist, mulch the seed bed, remove mulch upon germination

Introducing the magnificent Magnolia ashei Ashe Magnolia, or Ashe's Magnolia. This medium-sized understory tree stands tall, reaching heights of 15-20 meters. What sets it apart from other magnolias are its extraordinary large leaves, measuring 25-80 cm in length and 11-30 cm in width. The sheer size of its foliage impressively weighs down many of its branches.

Described by the Flora of North America as deciduous and often multitrunked, this tree boasts a dark gray, smooth bark and homogeneous pith. Its twigs and foliar buds are covered in silky-pubescent hairs. The leaves are abundantly clustered in whorl-like formations at the top of the tree, with stipules that are 6-8 cm long and 3-4 cm wide. These stipules are pilose and glandular on the underside.

The leaf blade of Magnolia ashei is broadly elliptic to obovate-oblong, ranging from 17 to 46 cm in length and 10 to 30 cm in width. The base of the leaf can be truncate, deeply cordate, or auriculate, while the apex is acute to short-acuminate. The surfaces of the leaf are chalky white or pale green to glaucous on the underside, pilose, and deep green and glabrous on the upper side.

This extraordinary magnolia produces solitary or paired fragrant flowers on adjacent twigs. The flowers can range from 15 to 38 cm in diameter and are surrounded by spathaceous bracts. The outer bract is abaxially rusty gray, while the inner bract is glabrous. The creamy white tepals are glandular, with the innermost whorl often purple-blotched at the base. The outermost segments of the tepals are strongly reflexed and greenish in color. Magnolia ashei boasts an impressive number of stamens, ranging from 170 to 350, with filaments that are white and pistils numbering from 20 to 50.

The follicetums of this tree are cylindric to nearly ovoid and measure 2.5-6.5 cm in length and 1.5-4 cm in width. The follicles have short beaks and are distally appressed silky-pubescent. The seeds are lenticular to somewhat globose, measuring 8-10 mm in size, and are adorned with an orange-red aril. The chromosome number for Magnolia ashei is 2n=38.

This captivating beauty can be found in woodlands, ravines, and bluffs along the coastal plain. Unfortunately, it is of conservation concern, with limited distribution across six counties in the Florida panhandle. Habitat disturbance threatens the survival of Magnolia ashei, making it vulnerable to extirpation.

Compared to its counterpart, M. macrophylla, Magnolia ashei is smaller in stature, often multitrunked, and has smaller leaves, fewer stamens and pistils, smaller seeds, smaller stipules, filiform trichomes, and smaller, almost hairless, cylindric follicetums. The flowers are often borne in pairs. Magnolia ashei dazzles with early flowering, typically blooming just three to four years after germination. This tree is highly desirable and brings a touch of elegance to any landscape.

For more information, visit our website at http://plants.usda.gov. Experience the grandeur of Magnolia ashei and its awe-inspiring presence.

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