Magnolia tripetala

Umbrella Magnolia




  • native to the southeastern and south central United States
  • zone 5
  • especially common on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous small to medium-sized tree
  • grows to 15' to 30' tall
  • very coarse texture and branching
  • upright spreading to irregular branching
  • loose and open

Summer Foliage

  • leaves are 1' to 2' long
  • leaves are widest three quarters of the way out the leaf
  • leaves are bright, lime green above and somewhat frosty-looking underneath
  • foliage is clustered at the branch tips

Autumn Foliage

  • not impressive
  • foliage may turn yellow and brown before dropping


  • not especially showy for a magnolia
  • typically the flowers have 6 to 9 tepals
  • each flower is 6" to 10" across when open
  • color is creamy white
  • fragrance is disagreeable
  • bloom time is May and early June


  • aggregate fruits have a knobby appearance
  • mature color is red and green
  • fruit mature and open in September to October


  • highly ornamental
  • bark is smooth with ash-gray color


  • prefers moist, rich, organic soils
  • full sun or light, partial shade

Landscape Use

  • as a specimen


  • extremely coarse appearance is hard to use in most landscape situations
  • large leaves can be injured by wind and hail

ID Features

  • very large leaves for a magnolia or any native tree
  • ash-gray, smooth bark
  • coarse texture
  • large, unpleasantly-scented, creamy white flowers


  • by seed


  • none

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.