Magnolia kobus

15 Mar

Magnolia kobus (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Magnolia kobus (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Spring

Eventual Height: 12m

Eventual Spread: 10m

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Magnoliaceae

Magnolia kobus is a deciduous tree with a broadly conical habit that becomes more rounded as it matures. It mid green leaves are narrowly obovate, often puckered, up to 15cm long and 5cm broad. Its bark become grey brown as the tree matures. It bears profuse sprays of goblet to saucer shaped white flowers (occasionally flushed pink at the base) before the leaves appear, these are and up to 10cm across. Its fruit appear as groups of red seeds, the grouping being up to 7cm across.

Magnolia kobus flower (13/03/2011, London)

Magnolia kobus flower (13/03/2011, London)

Magnolia kobus, commonly known as the Kobushi Magnolia, is native to the mountainous regions of Japan where farmers use its inflorescence as a signal to begin planting, giving rise to a common name tauchi-zakura meaning ‘Cherry for starting planting the fields’.

The etymological root of the binomial name Magnolia was named after Pierre Magnol, a 17th century French botanist. Kobus is derived from the Japanese name for the species.

Magnolia kobus (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Magnolia kobus (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Magnolia kobus is useful for landscape architects as an excellent flowering specimen tree with a large spring inflorescence, giving it a striking appearance combined with the bare branches.

Ecologically, the Magnolia genus evolved before flying insects such as bees and as such does not produce true nectar or even true sepals or petals. It secretes a sugary substance to attract beetles and its pollen is an excellent source of protein for them. Its fruit are attractive to some birds.

Magnolia kobus Leaf (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Magnolia kobus Leaf (18/07/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Magnolia kobus prefers moist, fertile, deep, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil, although it prefers acidic soils.

Magnolia kobus requires little maintenance.

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