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.
|Magnolia x soulangeana in Belfast Botanic Gardens||Magnolia x soulangeana flowers|
|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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