Scientific Name:

Magnolia tripetala

Common Name:

Umbrella Magnolia

Scientific Name Pronounciation:

mag-NO-lee-uh try-PET-ah-luh

Plant Type:


Plant Hardiness Zones:


Plant Hardiness Zone(s):

Usual Size:

30-40 ft. H (occasionally taller) X 20-30 ft. W


6-10 inches wide; creamy white with 6-9 petals (or tepals); blooms in late spring after leaves appear; unpleasant scent by some accounts, but doesn't carry far and is not usually an issue in the landscape.

Bloom Time Notes:

Spring (slightly earlier than Magnolia macrophylla)


Deciduous, oblong to diamond-shaped, widest near pointed tip; large, at 10-24 inches long and 6-10 inches wide; tapered at base (not "eared" or lobed as in similar species); alternate, but clustered and arranged in umbrella-like whorls near the end of branches; darker green above, pale green or "frosty" below with hairs; on 1-inch stalks; dark (purplish) terminal buds help distinguish it from M. macrophylla.


Cone-like; 4-6 inches long; green turning pink when mature, later turning brown; individual seeds pink to red; matures in late summer to early fall.


Birds like the fleshy fruits.

Natural Habitat:

Understory tree of rich, moist, well-drained soils; often along creeks and occasionally swamp margins.


Seed or with greenwood cuttings in early summer; seeds should be cleaned of the fleshy pulp and sown outdoors while still fresh; germination is sporadic over a year or two, and many seeds are infertile due to incomplete pollination.

Bloom Time:

Sun or Shade:

Companion Plants:

Cultural Notes:

Umbrella Magnolia (Magnolia tripetala) should be used in a habitat and soil as close as possible to the original; partial shade to fairly deep shade, edge of woods for more flowers; avoid planting close to where people congregate (patios, decks) due to flower scent some say is objectionable; avoid areas subject to strong winds, which can tear the large leaves.

Like Magnolia macrophylla, it has a very unusual appearance for a native tree; tropical effect; loose and airy leaf clusters may appear to glow when they catch and reflect sunlight; attractive scarlet fruits; gold autumn foliage.


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