umbrella magnolia

Magnolia tripetala (umbrella magnolia) is a beautiful understory tree that is native to rich moist woods in the south of the United States. Its common name comes from the arrangement of the magnolia’s leaves which brings to mind an umbrella.

It is a small, often multi-trunked tree that typically grows 30′ tall, but may rise to as much as 45′ tall. It has bowl-shaped, creamy white flowers that bloom in spring shortly after the leaves emerge. The flowers are then followed by cone-like pink fruits that ripe in the fall. The leaves are large, oblong, and shiny.

Appearing before the bees did, the flowers are theorized to have evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. Magnolia fossils date back to the Tertiary period, 100 million years ago. This tough tree has survived several climate conditions that the Earth has thrown at it. Maybe this explains why these trees grow naturally in various different countries around the world.

Botanical Name Magnolia tripetala
Common Name umbrella magnolia
Family Magnoliaceae
USDA Zone 5 thru 8
Light Requirement Full Sun to Part Shade
Season(s) of interest all seasons
Height and Spread 15-30ft x 15-30ft (4.5-9m x 4.5-9m)
Flower Color White
Attracts Wildlife Provides Food for Birds, Attracts Pollinators,
Additional Information Native to US Midwest.
Location in Lurie Garden North Dark Plate, East Meadow


Average Flowering Time