Plant Profile: Magnolia campbellii

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[This BYGL-alert is written by Stephen Fang, a student in OSU’s Horticulture and Crop Science 3410, “Sustainable Landscape Maintenance” class. This magnolia, though not hardy to Ohio is present here in its own way, in its frequent hybridization with other magnolias.]


Campbell;s Magnolia by Stephen Fang


Magnolia campbellii from
Magnolia campbellii  from images


Magnolia campbellii is a large deciduous tree in the family Magnoliaceae that may grow to 6o feet tall and more. The bark texture is smooth and is a gray color, the leaves are a lustrous green, with a fuzzy underside. The most attractive part of this tree are the flowers; from 6-10 inches in diameter. Flower color varies from white to a dark pink, with outer “saucer” tepals splayed and inner “cup” tepals recurved. The tree flowers early in the season, from late winter to early spring.


Magnolia campbellii flowers
Magnolia campbellii flowers from images


This tree is native to the Himalayas at elevations of 7,000 to 11,000 feet and has a hardiness zone of 8-9. The preferred soil type is in moist, acidic, deep soils where the temperature is stable seasonally. 


USDA Hardiness Zone map
USDA Hardiness Zone map


Magnolia campbellii fruits
Magnolia campbellii fruits from images


One of the books for the class is “The Tree Book” by Michael A. Dirr and Keith S. Warren. Here is their take on this magnolia: “…consider it and its cultivars the most spectacular of all magnolias. It is a humbling and inspirational experience to walk under these most noble magnolias in spring, their pink flowers in full glory on bare branches. Emotion clouds judgment, for all who experience subsequently desire.”

[ If you do move southward and grow this plant, as Dirr and Warren note: if you grow in from seed instead of cuttings/cultivars, it will be a few decades before it flowers. Worth it, though. ]