Southern Magnolia

Magnolia grandiflora - L.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers.

Edible Uses: Condiment.

The flowers are pickled in some parts of England and are considered to have an exquisite flavour. They are also said to be used as a spice and a condiment.

Medicinal Uses

Diaphoretic; Hypotensive; Salve; Stimulant; Tonic.

The bark is diaphoretic, stimulant, tonic. It is used in the treatment of malaria and rheumatism. A decoction has been used as a wash and a bath for prickly heat itching. The decoction has also been used as a wash for sores and as a steam bath for treating dropsy. An alcoholic extract of the plant reduces the blood pressure, produces a slight acceleration in respiration but has no action on the heart.

Other Uses

Essential; Shelterbelt; Wood.

A fairly wind-tolerant tree, it can be used in shelterbelt plantings. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers. Wood - hard and fairly heavy, but weak and not durable. White when first cut, it turns brown on exposure to air. It is used in limited amounts for fuel, baskets, crates, woodenware and furniture.

Cultivation details

Best grown in a warm position in a moderately rich free soil of an open texture. Tolerates moderately limey soils so long as they are deep and rich in humus. Succeeds in full sun or semi-shade. The fleshy roots are easily damaged and any transplanting is best done during a spell of mild moist weather in late spring. Flowers are produced in trees as young as 10 years old. Plants do not normally need pruning, any cutting out of dead wood etc is best carried out in July.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed must be kept cold over the winter and should be sown in late winter in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in the spring but it can take 18 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions when they are more than 15cm tall, though should be well mulched and given some protection from winter cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Layering in early spring.