Research has shown that an early form of this tree dates back millions of years. They are the oldest form of a woody flowering plant on earth.
It was in 1703 that Charles Plumier named the tree for Pierre Magnol who was a 17th century botanist. Prior to this the tree had gone by many names in various countries. Plumier was a French monk who was a vegetarian and botanist. He discovered the Magnolia, the Begonia, the fuchsia, and the Lobelia. In his 31 manuscripts (that are handwritten!) he documented over 4,300 plants as well as 1,200 animals.
Blossoms have measured up to one foot wide! A magnolia tree on a southern plantation has reached height of 80 feet and still gets covered with blossoms.
There are deciduous magnolias that grow best in cool locations and the evergreen magnolias.
What appears to be cones are actually aggregate fruit that is woody. When the fruit pops opens red seeds appear and birds love them.
It is believed that the magnolias came long before the bees so the tree is polinated by beetles rather than bees.
The bark of the Magnolia has medicinal properties having been used in China for centuries. It even has practical applications in treating Alzheimer's disease.
At leat two films have the flower in their title:
and Magnolia, a 1999 drama