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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saucer Magnolia Marks Spring's Arrival

Though it is only mid-February, spring has arrived in southern California and this Asian saucer magnolia burst into bloom.


Like orchids, magnolias are ancient plants. Dinosaurs sauntered under their flowered branches. They are so old, they preexist bees and are primarily pollinated by beetles. 

Asian species of magnolia, like this cultivar, are deciduous. In spring flowers open before any leaves, creating a tree of blossoms.

Magnolia x soulangeana is commonly planted in California gardens. While I'm partial to native plants, this saucer magnolia stopped me in my tracks. 

According to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, M. soulangeana is a cross between the lily magnolia (M. liliiflora) and the Yulan magnolia (M. denudata). They attribute this beautiful hybrid to a French botanist, Etienne Soulange-Bodin, a cavalry officer in Napoleon's army.

Other Earth Minutes with flowers:
Discover Mountain Wildflowers in Wyoming
Discover Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA
An Earth Minute of Orchids
Visit Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park, CA
Hidden Gardens of Los Angeles 

Take a New Earth Minute moment each Week

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