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Plantidote of the Day 2013-02-20

twig's picture


Mystery tree in bloom

How embarrassing! I should know what this is, but I don't. It was shot last spring at Descanso Gardens, which features mostly camellias. At least I'm certain it's not a camellia;-) The flowers are on a good-sized tree, and there are no more clues. Someone? Anyone?


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

Click on the image for the full-size version. Click here to see the entire series.

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insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

There are dozens of varietals of this magnolia. Its common name is "tulip tree".
The unmistakable texture of the flowers...fleshy is the give away. These trees are actually just really big shrubs with multiple trunks. I started one from a piece of twig 4 inches long about 15 yrs ago. It now stands 24 ft tall and is in full riotous bloom. Fragrant too .

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

people to take over Plantidote -- please email me if you're interested (

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, so it is a tulip tree!?! wow, I looked at images online and they seemed more like traditional magnolia blossoms, with more petals than these. Probably gave up too quickly, though. Thanks again, insanely, for solving yet another mystery!!

Submitted by lambert on

.... now is the time to become Plantidotians.

I can contribute some, but frankly, twig and jerztomato did a much better job than I could do, because not only do they know more about plants, they are better photographers.

So, readers, and especially lurkers, if you have enjoyed the serenity of the Plantidotes -- as I have, so much -- now is the time pay it forward for the next generation of Plantidotians.

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

To clarify a bit on the common name, Tulip Tree refers also to another tree as well as this Magnolia. Liriodendron tulipifera is also called tulip tree. The leaves are actually shaped like the way kids draw tulips in first grade. And the flowers on the Liriodendron are also tulip like.

I prefer to call this Magnolia by its other common name - Saucer Magnolia.