The stately magnolia has been admired as a symbol of beauty and nobility for countless centuries. In fact, fossils indicate that the magnolia tree and its blooms have remained nearly unchanged for the last 100 million years!
Many varieties of magnolia boast pure white flowers, but there are also lovely shades of yellow or purple blooms. Magnolias are also known for their thick, luxurious leaves. Almost leathery in texture, these leaves are often dried for use in floral arrangements.
Magnolia flowers have come to symbolize grace and dignity because of the elegance of the blossom. In ancient Asian cultures, the magnolia represented feminine beauty. In the Victorian era, these flowers conveyed a message of nobility when given as a gift. White magnolias are used today to symbolize purity in bridal decor.
Magnolia species native to Asia have been used in medicinal applications in China and Russia for hundred of years. Varieties native to North America have found popularity in bridal bouquets and home decor.
There are several types of magnolia with edible components. Buds are often pickled or boiled and eaten whole or added to rice or other starchy foods. Some types of leaves may be dried and used as a spice.
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Magnolia flowers differ from many other cut flowers because they grow on trees. This family of trees is so ancient that they pre-date bees. Instead, magnolias have long been pollinated by beetles. Their design seems to have evolved to attract and accommodate these insect visitors.
Magnolias are so widely recognizable that they have permeated popular culture in numerous genres. There are movies, poems, paintings, and at least a dozen well-known songs that reference the magnolia flower.
Most magnolias bloom in early to mid-spring in both warmer and temperate climates. Many varieties develop flowers before their leaves have emerged from winter dormancy. Some types of magnolias may even bloom throughout the summer. While the blooms are long-lasting on the tree, magnolia flowers tend to wilt within a day or two once cut.
While magnolia blossoms are usually associated with warm weather, they are also quite popular in holiday decor. Dried leaves and faux magnolia flowers are frequently seen in Christmas wreaths and garlands. Fresh leaves are utilized in warmer growing zones where evergreen magnolia trees remain lush throughout the winter.
The graceful magnolia is a worldwide symbol of delicate charms. Whether in a spring bouquet or as a winter holiday gift, magnolias send a message of gentility and loveliness to your gift recipient.