Magnolia grandiflora “Galissonniere Praecox” – Bush Form
Bull Bay, southern Magnolia
The Bull Bay is a broadleaf evergreen tree with notably attractive dark green leaves and large, extremely fragrant and beautiful flowers which bloom in late spring and continue throughout summer
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Galissonniere Praecox’ is a cultivar similar to Galissonniere but with smaller, undulated leaves.
The bush form has more branches towards the base of the tree that give it a fuller appearance.
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Native to the USA, it lives in moist wooded areas typically as an understory tree. It was brought to Britain in 1726 where it entered cultivation and overshadowed the then new and popular M. virginiana.
The specific epithet grandiflora comes from Latin and simply means large flowers, while the Genus ‘Magnolia’ honours the French Botanist Pierre Magnol. Magnol is most well known for inventing the concept of plant families in the form they are still understood today, by classifying groups of plants that have features in common.
Magnolia's Ancient Flower
The shape and form of the Magnolia grandiflora’s large flower, with tepals instead of distinct petals and sepals, is characteristic of the earliest known flowering plants.
Recent research suggests that the first ever flowers to evolve looked a lot like the flower of M. grandiflora, which not only adds to the wonder of owning such a specimen, but also gives us a glimpse into what the earliest flowering plants may have looked like 140 million years ago.
The shape of the grandiflora flower can be explained by the context of those early flowering plants. They were so ancient they appeared before bees did, and so are thought to have evolved their shape and toughness specifically to be pollinated by beetles, which Magnolia grandiflora also still is today.
Care & Size Guidance
Magnolia grandiflora has a high wind and salt tolerance that makes it suitable for coastal gardens.
Its flowers bloom in late spring and continue into summer. These flowers give way to spherical cone-like fruiting clusters with rose-red seeds that release at maturity.
In UK garden climates M. grandiflora often grows more broad than upright, but pruning lower branches alters this. If a denser plant is what you’re looking for, prune in spring before growth begins to encourage broader growth.