Magnolia Madness!


Many Magnolias at London Town!


Magnolia Madness begins! Many mature Magnolias of London Town will be nearing their peak bloom in the coming weeks. The white and pink Magnolias like the M. biondii, M. stelatta 'rubra', M. kobus and M. denudata are some of the early bloomers. While the deep mauve pink and the delicate yellow Magnolias bloom by mid-April.


Magnolia family still remains mystic to many botanists. After all, they are considered to be 'living fossils' and till the last century they were considered to be the most primitive flowers.


"The Magnolia family is thought by many botanists to be the most primitive of the flowering plant families. It is also considered a very ancient group, with fossil records of many now extinct species dating to the Cretaceous Period, about 60 million years ago" The Magnificent Magnolias Part I: Family Tree (cornell.edu)


"The fossil record establishes that magnolias have remained relatively unaltered for millions of years, and have been widespread in tropical and subtropical climates" (harvard.edu)


Fossil records of Magnolias are fascinating as they give cues to flowering trees and the evolution of a 'simple' flowers. But what is more fascinating about Magnolias is their co-evolution with Beetles. Amongst other pollinators, Beetles are one of the primary pollinators for the Magnolias. The Beetles are attracted to meaty pollen of the large Magnolia flowers. (Learn more: https://www.pollinator.org/.../EBFContinentalrx13FINAL.pdf)


In 2022, the horticulture department at London Town will be largely focus on restoring the habitat for one of our largest primary collections. In addition, many new Magnolias will be planted as succession plantings in our effort to support ex-situ conservation of a genus that has almost half of its species on the extinction list.

"Nearly half (48%) of the Magnolia species assessed are threatened with extinction in the wild. Magnolia are principally threatened by logging activity and livestock farming also a significant factor in their global decline. Other threats include collection of wild plant material and impacts of climate change. 'Magnolias are an ancient group of trees that have survived epochs of global change. Now we stand to lose half of all species unless we take action to prevent extinction.'" (https://globaltrees.org/.../half-of-the-worlds.../....)


Magnolias come in many shades, habits and even fragrance, but which one could you choose for your yard? Follow us next week to learn more about Magnolia varieties of London Town. Did you also know that Magnolias are considered to be thermogenic? Magnolia madness continues next week.

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