Magnolia Soulangeana or Saucer Magnolia
The genus is named after the French botanist Pierre Magnol and comprises some 35 species distributed in North and Central America, eastern Asia, tropical Asia and the Himalayas. Saucer magnolia, a hybrid of Magnolia denudata and M. liliiflora, is a large, deciduous shrub or tree, 5 to 6m (16 to 20 ft) high. The leaves are 10 to 15cm (4 to 6 in) long, oval, pointed at the tip, enitre and stiff. The, about 10cm (4 in) across and coloured white to pale pink, appear in May. The fruits are woody bladders, two-valved and split to reveal dangling seeds coloured orange-to red. The several varieties and forms are distinguished by the colour and size of the flowers, and the period of flowering. Best known varieties are: nigra, with narrow, dark purple blooms (late-flowering); superba, very early with pure white blooms; ‘Alba’, whitish; ‘Alba Superba’, early-flowering with pure white blooms; ‘Alexandrina’, lilac-pink to rosy-purple; ‘Lennei’, with flowers rosy-purple outside and white inside (large-flowered), and ‘Speciosa’, white flowers tinged with pink.
Magnolias require good, well-drainedwith leafmould and peat. Propagation is not easy. Seeds should be stratified as soon as they are harvested and sown in spring. Propagation by vegetative means may be by young cuttings (usually they overwinter poorly) or by . Magnolias are extremely effective as solitary specimens in small gardens as well as in parks, where they may also be used in group plantings.