Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the black tree maintenance tags, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Magnoliaceae
Magnolia x soulangeana Soul.-Bod.
Saucer magnolia

Black tag 266
54o 34.887N
5o 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 hybrid 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, they do not have distinct sepals and petals; the many perianth segments are known as tepals. The flower parts of the Magnoliaceae are arranged in spirals unlike the arrangement in rings in most flowering plants. Such 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. There are some 18-20 named clones of the species, some with pure white flowers and others in various shades of pink to rosy-red.

Also in the Magnoliaceae family is the genus Liriodendron (the tulip trees).
Magnolia x soulangeana in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Magnolia x soulangeana flower

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

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

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