Magnolia x soulangeanaTuesday, April 29, 2014
Magnolia × soulangeana (saucer magnolia) is a hybrid plant in the genus Magnolia and family Magnoliaceae. It is a deciduous tree with large, early-blooming flowers in various shades of white, pink, and purple. It is one of the most commonly used magnolias in horticulture, being widely planted in the British Isles, especially in the south of England; and in the United States, especially the east and west coasts.
Magnolia × soulangeana was initially bred by French plantsman Étienne Soulange-Bodin (1774–1846), a retired cavalry officer in Napoleon's army, at his château de Fromont near Paris. He crossed Magnolia denudata with M. liliiflora in 1820, and was impressed with the resulting progeny's first precocious flowering in 1826.
From France, the hybrid quickly entered cultivation in England and other parts of Europe, and also North America. Since then, plant breeders in many countries have continued to develop this magnolia, and over a hundred named horticultural varieties (cultivars) are now known.
Since we arrived at out present home in 1986 we have lived and enjoyed our Magnolia x soulangeana which grows under an ornamental cherry tree. I have hacked the magnolia many times to allow light to enter the garden from the west. This pruning does not seem to affect the tree in the least. As a human I perhaps represent a minor irritant to a tree that was food to many of the plant eating dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Epoch (145.5 to 65.5 million years ago).
This magnolia has a slight scent but like its sweeter relative Magnolia grandiflora, it is a scent of complexity. Could have this been the scent that attracted those ancient dinosaurs to the table?
Today as I worked hard in the garden with Rosemary I had to give myself a rest because of my arthritis. I spotted one of the many flowers of the magnolia and I wondered what I could do with it. Herewith are the results.