Thursday, March 24, 2016

Magnolia 'Elizabeth'

Spring is definitely coming in the NY metro area. This past Sunday I spent a few hours walking around the Planting Field Arboretum with my daughter. It was a great day, just a bit cool (around 50F), and oddly, a few hours before we would get an inch of snow. We saw many plants blooming, but the one I want to talk about in this post is the Magnolia tree we saw.

I love the site of flowering trees in the early Spring!
To be honest, I'm still not 100% certain this is a Magnolia, and I haven't been able to get it to species. The first place I looked was the Trees of New York: Native and Naturalized by Donald Leopold. But the Magnolia species described in there didn't quite fit what I was seeing. In particular, the bud on this tree is fairly big and hairy, which didn't match the buds described in this book.

Bud, not so focused. And bark of relatively young twig.
I tried looking through a few of my other books, but eventually went to the internet and started Google searching terms like "fuzzy flower bud early spring" and what not. Ultimately, the images and descriptions I found that best fit my observations were for Magnolia 'Elizabeth'. This is a cross between M. acuminata (Cucumber tree) and M. denudata (Yulan magnolia), so a native and a exotic, respectively. It was neat to read on the Missouri Botanical Garden site that this variety is patented by the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. All things considered, it makes a lot of sense that this tree would be planted at an estate along the north shore of Long Island.

My daughter, enjoying the early spring day outside, while dad takes pictures of plants.