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Plants of the UNF Campus

Magnolia virginiana - Sweet bay magnolia
Family Magnoliaceae


Approximately one hundred to two hundred species (depending on the scientific authority) of Magnolia are found in tropical America and Asia. This species is native to the eastern United States. Often, it has multiple trunks. This tree has large leaves with a waxy white underside (not furry.) The leaves are smaller than the southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) and a lighter shade of green. Fragrant, cream-colored flowers are produced in spring. The flowers are about two to three inches wide. Seeds are covered with a bright red aril that is attractive to fruit-eating birds. This wood has been used for a variety of purposes but trees tend to be too small and slow for commercial use.


See this plant in moist natural areas on campus.


A medium-sized tree to about forty feet tall. Reportedly, the maximum height is about sixty feet.

Care Instructions:

Light: full sun to part sun

Water: best in moist soils, not tolerant of prolonged flooding

Soil: fairly adaptable to a wide pH range, may struggle with a very high pH soil

This native tree is an easy, attractive flowering tree for moist areas of northeast Florida. It has a relatively narrow, upright crown that does not provide much shade but fits smaller properties better than large shade trees. It is usually evergreen in the southern United States.