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Plant Details

Magnolia virginiana var. virginiana

Northern Sweet Bay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Swampbay, Swamp Magnolia, Sweet Magnolia

Scientific Name:

Magnolia virginiana var. virginiana

Genus:

Magnolia

Species Epithet:

virginiana

Common Name:

Northern Sweet Bay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Swampbay, Swamp Magnolia, Sweet Magnolia

Plant Type

Tree

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Magnoliaceae (Magnolia Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Size:

36-72 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

White

Light:

Sun - 6 or more hours of sun per day, Part Shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Moist, Wet

Bloom Time:

April, May, June, July

Growing Area:

Piedmont, Sandhills, Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

Pocosins, bay forests, and swamps in the Coastal Plain, streamhead pocosins, swamps, and sandhill seeps in the Sandhills, bogs and peaty swamps in the Piedmont (Weakley 2015). Rare in the NC Piedmont, common in the Coastal Plain.

Leaf Arrangement:

Alternate

Leaf Retention:

Evergreen

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Simple

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Has some wildlife value

Landscape Value:

Suitable for home landscapes

State Status:

No NC Status Listed, W6: Watch List: Regionally Rare (*Key)

Notes:

"This attractive, native ornamental is popular for its fragrant flowers borne over a long period, showy conelike fruit, handsome foliage of contrasting colors, and smooth bark." Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
Magnollia virginiana var. australis is not recorded in NC, but grows from SC south and west (according to Weakley 2015).

Flower

Looking like a smaller version of Magnolia grandiflora, Sweet Bay flowers are intensely fragrant.

image

Halyburton Park, Wilmington, May 9, 2013

Developing fruit

image

Jack Spruill, June, 2009, Hampstead

Trunk showing pale, smooth bark

If you press the corky bark with your fingernail, it will depress and then return to its original shape.

image

Paynter, Wilmington, 2011

Fruit (follicetum) with seeds

image

Jorge Vigueras, 2010

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record


Bird-Friendly Native Plants



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