Photo: Paul Chenoweth
The state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi is Magnolia grandiflora.
This is the large fragrant creamy white flower with a yellow center, produced by a magnificent evergreen tree which grows best close to the coast and at low altitudes.
This Magnolia is found along the North American southeast coastal strip from North Carolina to Florida and west along the gulf to Southeast Texas and can reach 82 feet with a broadly conical shape.
The flowers are produced in the spring and pollinated by insects. The combination of glossy dark green leathery leaves and cupped dinner plate size flowers makes it a popular tree that brings a touch of romance to gardens.
Leaves And All
The tree is also called the Bull Boy and the bark is gray brown with irregular cracks as the tree ages. Magnolia leaves were first used by our early colonials as part of natural evergreen arrangements at Christmas.
The Williamsburg style of decorating makes lavish use of Magnolia’s glossy leaves. To preserve branches of Magnolia leaves stand their stems in a solution of two parts water and one-part glycerine for a few weeks, and the leaves will last in arrangements for a long time.
While the pink saucer magnolia is seen further north the large white magnolia flower is quintessentially southern.