> Wonder if anybody can clear up some confusion here. Please see the
It looks like one of the Magnolia varieties to me.
Can you describe what the leaves look like, when it has some?
I don't know where in the world you are, but here in the UK they are
typically starting to flower right now, but without leaves.
It looks like a Magnolia soulangeana (saucer magnolia) with the flowers
not yet fully open, possibly the variety 'Rustica Rubra'. This grows
more as a large shrub than a tree, reaching 25 ft in both height and
width; but it can be pruned to grow tree-like. Here in southern
California, the first bloom period is ending; it began in January. With
favorable summer weather, there will be a second bloom period early in
Because of the shape of the flowers, M. soulangeana is sometimes called
a tulip tree. However the real tulip tree -- Liriodendron tulipfera --
has greenish-yellow flowers. The confusion in common names is
understandable since L. tulipfera is in the magnolia family although in
a different genus.
M. soulangeana (more properly M. x soulangeana) is a hybrid, a cross
between M. denudata (Yulan magnolia) and M. liliflora (lily magnolia).
All three are deciduous. The southern magnolia (M. grandiflora), which
comes to mind with many people when they hear "magnolia", is a very
large broad-leaf evergreen that has creamy white flowers in the summer.
You might want to look up other magnolias, concentrating on deciduous
species with saucer-like flowers.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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