The most impressive Southern Magnolia (Magnolia Grandiflora) in Dallas-Fort Worth lives at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. The picture above shows a view of it from near one of the Garden roads (along with a few tiny, other trees). Many magnolias in Fort Worth are impressively tall — for example, the one pictured below, which grows next to the library of my alma mater, TCU — but the one at the Botanic Gardens is the best!
From some angles, the Garden’s huge magnolia can at first look like many trees, not one. That’s why I never(!) truly noticed it; I mistakenly saw a big stand of multiple trees, not a single special individual. This past May, however, Kate — a special individual herself — showed me one of the “secret entrances” to the “cave” made by the magnolia’s drooping branches.
Texas Tree Trails has a page with many facts and pictures about this particular magnolia. A few facts about the tree taken from that site and elsewhere:
- As of 2004, the tree is 64 feet tall.
- Leaf: Leathery top, fuzzy red-brownish underside, evergreen, alternate simple (whorling at tip), asymmetrical base, pinnately veined, oval-shaped, 5-8 inches long, untoothed margin.
- Flower: Large (6-8+ inches wide), creamy white, fragrant. Borne singly, May-June.
- Fruit: Cylindrical aggregate of follicles (“seed pod”). Green changing to red. Matures Oct-Nov.
- Twig: Stout. It gives off a citrus scent if broken.
- Bark: Brown to gray, thin, smooth when young, but plating or scaling later in life.
- The Southern Magnolia is sometimes called an Evergreen Magnolia, or a Bull-bay.
I took four pictures of the tree’s flowers, each illustrating a different stage of the flower life cycle. You can learn much more about the magnolia flower life cycle, and see pictures of it, at this website.
I use the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America (above). Highly recommended; full of color photographs.