Saucer Magnolia

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
This generous magnolia tree welcomes strangers and residents alike, whether they're rushing to class or walking home after a long day of work. Its fragrant, early-spring blossoms bring joy and vibrance to the neighborhood in the spring, and its ovular leaves turn a festive orange-y green in the fall. The Saucer Magnolia is a hybrid first bred in France in 1820, and despite this ones height, it is actually a large spreading shrub which takes its name from the pink and white saucer-like flowers. Its ease of cultivation and relative tolerance to a range of weather and soil conditions makes it a popular tree for the home garden. hint: can you find the pair of "bluebirds" who live by this tree?
Yasmin Bergemann
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
12.80 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.31 m

There are too many multiple trunks to accurately measure the DBH, so this is just an estimate
The Saucer Magnolia has smooth, light grey bark when mature. It is relatively thin, which leaves it prone to potential damage.
Twigs & branches
The branches are long, thin, and wiry. As the tree grows, the branches droop downward to create a low spreading canopy. The branches are durable and flexible. The offshoots of the branches that grow flowers shoot upwards.
The leaves are are obovate, and it is a deciduous tree. In the spring, when they are young, they are light green and thin. They darken as they mature to become a dark green color with a smooth and leathery texture in the summer. In the fall, they turn yellow-y bronze and orange before they fall off.
Reproductive Structures
The saucer magnolia tree is known for its vibrant white and pink flowers that welcome spring in. They are cup shaped, pointing upwards. The tips of the petals are rounded and of uneven height. They have a sweet fragrance.
Fruit of the Saucer Magnolia are large (over 3.00") rose follicle. Fruits in the late summer or fall.
  • In fall.
Natural range of distribution: 
The Magnolia x soulangeana is a cultivated hybrid; as such it does not have a natural range of distribution. It prefers rich soil with organic matter and is capable of growing in acidic, moist, sandy, clay, and well-drained soils. The tree requires consistent sun exposure and moisture in order to flourish. The tree exhibits some drought resistance and is relatively tolerant to wind and alkaline soils.
Origin, history, and uses: 

It was created in the 1820s in France by hybridizing the Magnolia denudata (Yulan magnolia) and the Magnolia liliiflora (Magnolia denudata) - both of which originate from China. The hybrid was cultivated in England, other parts of Western Europe, and North America; primarily for botanical purposes as its large and fragrant flowers add beauty and its generous canopy adds shade to gardens. 

The saucer magnolia is a common indicator plant for early spring events. Pink bud, early bloom, full bloom, past bloom, and petal drop are some of the discrete events of the saucer magnolia that can be associated with an array of landscape insect pests. In the Northeast, April is also when migratory birds begin to return - like robins and red-winged blackbirds - or pass over while heading further north - such as scoters and gannets. This time of April is also when shad begin to run in the Connecticut River, which local fishers (human and animal!) await in the winter.

Spring migration faqs. (2020, March 26). Retrieved April 26, 2021, from 

Herald, J. (2010, May 10). Greenspace: Phenology can OFFER garden planting guidelines. Retrieved April 26, 2021, from…

Tree detail - magnolia x soulanganea. Retrieved April 26, 2021, from…

Saucer MAGNOLIA: University of Redlands. Retrieved April 26, 2021, from