Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens is compiled by members of the Friends group and Gardens staff. We aim to build up to a comprehensive archive of trees in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Each article illustrates a tree growing in Belfast Botanic Gardens together with information from a range of sources. Where possible we will give the tree tag number - these are the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Magnolia x soulangiana
Saucer magnolia

Tag 333/334
54 deg 34.887N
5 deg 55.945W

Magnolia x soulangeana is a hybrid between Magnolia denudata and M. liliiflora. It was bred at the Chateau de Fromont near Paris by Etienne Soulange-Bodin in 1820. The parents are from China - M. denudata from Central and Eastern China and M. liliiflora from Southwest China. The hybid is much more widely grown than either of the parents. It can make a substantial tree to 20m, but is more often seen in gardens as a multi-stemmed small tree. The flowers appear before the leaves and in common with all magnolias, the flowers do not have distinct sepals and petals - the many perianth segments are called tepals. The flower parts of the Magnoliaceae are arranged in spirals unlike the arrangement in rings in most flowering plants. The spiral arrangement is found in early fossil angiosperm plants thus the family Magnoliaceae is thought to be related to the earliest of the flowering plants. Also in the Magnoliaceae family is the genus Liriodendron (the tulip tree genus). There are some 18-20 named clones of the species, some with pure white flowers and some with various shades of pink to rosy-red.

Magnolia x soulangiana in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Magnolia x soulangiana flower

Magnolia x soulangiana in Belfast Botanic Gardens Magnolia x soulangiana flowers
Magnolia x soulangiana spiral flower parts Magnolia x soulangiana bark
Detail of spiral flower parts of Magnolia x soulangiana bark of Magnolia x soulangiana

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2014. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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