Star Magnolia – Magnolia stellata

Star Magnolia
Star Magnolia

“She runs among whistling leaves; I hurry after;
She dances in dreams over white-waved water;
Her body is white & fragrant & cool,
Magnolia petals that float on a white-starred pool . . .
I have dreamed of her, dreaming for many nights.”

-Conrad Aiken (1889-1973)

 

The wonderfully fragrant flowers cover these small trees in early spring with delicate star like flowers well before the leaves appear. Star magnolia, is a native of Japan and was introduced to the United States in the 1860’s.

Of all the magnolias, the Star Magnolia is the best suited for growing as a bonsai. Many magnolias take up to 20 years to blooms, but this cultivar blooms very young and very early in the season. The hardest part of growing this tree as a bonsai is getting the trunk to thicken. Therefore they are often grown from cuttings.

Magnolia flowers are a traditional Oriental symbol of purity. The Naturopathy Digest notes that magnolia bark and flowers have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat nasal conditions and to make a skin ointment. Care in the use of these should be exerted because ingestion of the flowers can cause headaches and depression.

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