Star magnolia insists it is springtime.

Unusually wintry weather did not seem to delay star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, bloom. Such bloom can begin immediately prior to March, or finish immediately afterward. Yet, it typically occurs at about the same time annually within any particular situation. Few here were notably later than they were last year. Bloom lasts only for about two weeks though.

Nonetheless, bright white bloom is spectacular prior to foliation of otherwise bare stems. Formerly rare cultivars with blushed or pastel pink bloom are becoming popular. Delicate floral fragrance is proportionate to profusion of bloom. Individual flowers are about three inches wide with many narrow tepals. Deciduous foliage appears as bloom deteriorates.

Star magnolia may be more comparable to large shrubbery than small trees. Most do not grow much taller than six feet. Some of the largest may be twice as tall and broad, with a few trunks. Old trunks and branches can be somewhat sculptural. Bark is pallid, like that of fig trees. As their plump floral buds begin to burst, bare stems are conducive to forcing.


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