Herbs & Plants

Sweetbay Magnolia

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Botanical Name : Sweetbay Magnolia
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
Subgenus: M. subg. Magnolia
Section: M. sect. Magnolia
Species: M. virginiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Magnoliales

Common Names: Swampbay, Swamp magnolia, Whitebay,  Beaver tree,Sweetbay magnolia, Merely sweetbay

Habitat : Sweetbay Magnolia is native to the southeastern United States.It is found from New York to Florida and west to Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee at elevations up to 500′. It is most commonly found in South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. It grows  in swamps, wet soils, and along borders of streams and ponds.

Sweetbay Magnolia was the first magnolia to be scientifically described under modern rules of botanical nomenclature, and is the type species of the genus Magnolia; as Magnolia is also the type genus of all flowering plants (magnoliophytes), this species in a sense typifies all flowering


Click to see the pictures:–>.

1)Sweetbay Mangolia

2)Sweetbay Magnolia Magnolia virginiana Leaf

3) Magnolia virginiana flower

4) Sweetbay Magnolia Magnolia virginiana Dried Berry Cluster


Magnolia virginiana is a deciduous or evergreen tree to 30 m tall, Whether it is deciduous or evergreen depends on climate; it is evergreen in areas with milder winters in the south of its range, and is semi-evergreen or deciduous further north. The leaves are alternate, simple (not lobed or pinnate), with entire margins, 6-12 cm long, and 3-5 cm wide. The bark is smooth and gray, with the inner bark mildly scented, the scent reminiscent of the bay laurel spice.

The flowers are creamy white, 8-14 cm diameter, with 6-15 petal-like tepals. The flowers carry a very strong vanilla scent that can sometimes be noticed several hundred yards away. The fruit is a fused aggregate of follicles, 3-5 cm long, pinkish-red when mature, with the follicles splitting open to release the 1 cm long seeds. The seeds are black but covered by a thinly fleshy red coat, which is attractive to some fruit-eating birds; these swallow the seeds, digest the red coating, and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

Magnolia virginiana is often grown as an ornamental tree in gardens, and used in horticultural applications to give an architectural feel to landscape designs. It is an attractive tree for parks and large gardens, grown for its large, conspicuous, scented flowers, for its clean, attractive foliage, and for its fast growth. These handsome plants are not often damaged by ice storms.

The English botanist and missionary John Banister collected Magnolia virginiana in 1678 and sent it to England, where it flowered for Bishop Henry Compton. This species was the first magnolia to be cultivated in England, although it was soon overshadowed by the evergreen, larger-flowered southern magnolia (M. grandiflora.)

The sweetbay magnolia has been hybridized horticulturally with a number of species within subgenus Magnolia. These species include M. globosa, M. grandiflora, M. insignis, M. macrophylla, M. obovata, M. sieboldii and M. tripetala. Some of these hybrids have been given cultivar names and registered by the Magnolia Society.

Medicinal Uses:
Indians drank a warm infusion of the bark, cones and seeds for rheumatism.  In colonial times, the root bark was used in place of quinine bark to treat malaria.  A drink made of an infusion of bark and brandy was used to treat lung and chest diseases, dysentery, and fever.  A tea made of young branches boiled in water was a treatment for colds.  The bark and fruit are aromatic and have been used as a tonic.  A tincture of the fresh leaves has been used to treat rheumatism and gout, and as a laxative. A tea made from the bark is taken internally in the treatment of colds, bronchial diseases, upper respiratory tract infections, rheumatism and gout. The bark has been chewed by people trying to break the tobacco habit. A tea made from the fruit is a tonic, used in the treatment of general debility and was formerly esteemed in the treatment of stomach ailments. The leaves or bark have been placed in cupped hands over the nose and inhaled as a mild hallucinogen.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Sweetbay Magnolia Magnolia virginiana Leaves

Sweetbay Magnolia Tree

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