Botanical Name: Magnolia stellata
The pure white flowers are fragrant and very showy. 12 to 18 petals form the loose bloom giving the look of a starburst.
Mid to late April.
Dark green leaves turn a yellowish brown in the fall.
The bumpy fruit cluster is green and eventually splits open revealing the red seeds within. Not significant ornamentally.
Small tree to large shrub with a rounded shape. The branching is low and very dense.
Will reach 10 to 15 feet tall with a slightly smaller spread.
Full sun is best for flower production and dense habit but it will tolerate part shade.
Since it flowers early, the flowers can be hurt by a late frost or cold spring winds.
Description: We found Magnolia stellata to be a lot more hardy than the more typical source of magnolia, Magnolia x soulangiana. This native of Japan is also a more dainty tree with smaller leaves, smaller stems and heavier branching. It is actually more of a shrub than a tree. Star Magnolia blooms quite early in the spring, generally late April, and the fragrant flowers are white with many petals, forming what looks like a starburst. The literature says this tree can grow to about 15 feet; however, I would say it is rare to find one over 10 feet in New England - even 8 foot trees are relatively old. It is a very pretty shrub with its greatest problem being the fact that it blooms so early in the spring that very often the petals are damaged by late frost. This plant is a favorite of mine for several reasons. It is a joy to work with since it does so well for us in containers and produces such nice plants that we are always proud of. Also, in my own garden, its pure white flowers so early in the spring make a very nice contrast with our spring flowering bulbs.