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Featured Plant

Magnolia x veitchii


Scientific Name: Magnolia x veitchii

Common Names: 

Family: Magnoliaceae

Plant Type: Tree

Environment: Sun or partial shade; prefers deep, rich well-drained soil in a location sheltered from wind. Prune after flowering.

Bloom: March

Uses: Tree to 90'; requires space to spread; moderate watering

Other: Six seedlings were developed from the crosses done by Peter Veitch in 1907, the first to flower was the pink and white form that we have in the Garden today and the second was a white/pale pink form named 'Isca'. The remaining seedlings were destroyed as they were thought to be inferior forms.

Young trees can grow more than three feet per year.



Magnolia x veitchii

Magnolia x veitchii is a hybrid created in 1907 by Peter Veitch at the Royal Nurseries in England. Its exquisite pink-white chalice-shaped flowers are the result of Veitch's attempt to create a magnolia as beautiful as its parents, hardier, and with an extended blooming season. To create this hybrid, Veitch placed the pollen from a Magnolia denudata (jade lily) onto a flower of Magnolia campbellii (cup and saucer magnolia). The result was the first recorded hybrid of M. campbellii and a tree that embraced the best traits of both its parents. This new hybrid combined the large pink flowers of Magnolia campbellii with the upright tepals and almost pure-white flower of Magnolia denudata. Other desired traits included the upright growth habit of M. campbellii with an earlier and longer bloom season. Magnolia x veitchii flowered as early as seven years from vegetative propagation and seedlings, from the cross, flowered within 10 years (some of which became named cultivars). Magnolia campbellii can take up to 10–12 years from vegetative propagation and up to 20 years to flower from seed.

This magnolia has larger leaves than its parents – up to 30 cm. long by 18 cm. wide. They emerge with a tinge of purple, then turn entirely green as they mature. The chalice-shaped flowers have nine tepals up to five inches long and appear on the trees before the leaves in spring.

There are three M. x veitchii in the Garden that flower profusely throughout March. The largest can be found in the Rhododendron Garden, southwest of the pavilion. It is a large and elegantly-shaped tree that can have thousands of flowers open at one time. The other two are less mature but are still impressive and can be found in the Camellia Garden and the Mesoamerican Cloud Forest.

Photos and text by Associate Curator David Kruse-Pickler. Additional photos by SF Trajan.


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