This flowering tree is native to North American and is found in the southeastern US where it grows in moist woodlands. A member of the Magnolia family (Magnoliacea) the tree has the largest leaves of any tree native to North America. The leaves measure up to twelve to thirty-two inches long by seven to twelve inches wide and are bright green above and fuzzy silver-gray below. The fragrant flowers appear in May to July and have ivory flowers tinged with purple at the base. They are eight to twelve inches across and give rise to hairy, oval fruits up to three inches long. The fruits turn red in the fall and carry red berries. Trees are demanding in their moisture requirements and do not tolerate drought, urban pollution, or wind that may shed their leaves. They do not produce flowers until they are twelve to fifteen years old but are attractive specimen or shade trees. The specific name, macrophylla, comes from the Greek words macro meaning large and phyllon meaning leaf, referring to the large leaves.
Type: Deciduous or semi deciduous medium-sized flowering tree
Outstanding Features: Large leaves, large fragrant flowers
Form: Oval to pyramidal
Growth Rate: Medium
Bloom: Fragrant, eight to twelve inch wide ivory-colored petals with slight purple tint at the base in May to July
Size: 30-40’ H x 20-25’ W
Light: Full sun to part shade
Soil: Organically rich, moist, well-drained; does not tolerate extremes of soil moisture.
Care: Low maintenance
Hardiness: Zones 5-8
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Propagation: Seed (very difficult)