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Sweetbay Magnolia

Scientific Name

Magnolia virginiana


Native of the southeastern United States.  Can be found from the coastal plain of Maryland south to Florida, and west to Tennessee, southern Arkansas and eastern Texas.  


Also known as the Swamp Magnolia because it is normally found thriving in lowland swamp areas.  Prefers full sun to partial shade in areas with moist to wet soils.  Open and waterlogged  woodlands.  Prefers acid soils.

Growth Nature

Can grow to a height of 10 60 ft. with a spread of 10 20 ft.  Tends to take on a shrub form in cooler climates and takes on a tree form in warmer areas.  Crown is generally conical and narrow, becoming more rounded with age.  

Points of Interest

  • Can be trained to grow as a multi-stemmed shrub of single stemmed tree in the garden setting.

  • Does well for buffer strips and around parking lots and buildings.  Often grown as a specimen tree.

  • Produces red seeds that are valued by wildlife.  Attracts birds, squirrels, and other mammals.  Is the host tree for the Sweetbay silkmoth (Callosamia securifera), which uses it as a source of nectar and a host for its larvae.