Yulan magnolia, or Magnolia denudata, is a broad spreading deciduous tree that may eventually reach 30 to 40 feet with an equal spread. It has been cultivated in Buddhist gardens since 600 AD and was planted in the grounds of the Emperor's palace during the Tang Dynasty. It is also the official flower of Shanghai. And no wonder it is so revered. This is simply one of the most elegant flowering trees there are. The exquisite, white blooms appear before the leaves. The long bare branches hold the perfect white globes at their tips like a sterling candelabrum. The flowers are some of the first to appear in spring making them vulnerable to early frost, but there is nothing quite as striking as these glowing white blossoms in the gloom of a late winter garden. This is a true specimen tree and though there may be some spring blooming trees more colorful and bold, there are none with a more contemplative elegance.
The foliage develops little fall color but the irregular form of the tree is attractive even when bare. The flower has a spicy fragrance which will lure you out of doors even in the chill of early spring. Yulan magnolia grows throughout most of North America and the UK and temperate Australia and New Zealand.

As always, a tree this rare is not likely to be found in the large discount nurseries, but more likely found in the select plant nurseries or from mail-order tree nurseries.

Yulan magnolia


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