the magnolia family is extremeley ancient. fossil remains of the magnolia have been discovered dating from between 36 and 58 million years ago.
magnolia flowers do not have true petals and sepals but are made up of petal-like tepals. flowers do not produce genuine nectar, but attract pollinating beetles with aromatic, sugary secretions. magnolia flowers are primarily pollinated by beetles of the nitidulidae family because magnolias evolved long before bees and other flying pollinators.
magnolia grandiflora, or southern magnolia, grows up to 90 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide. she's a beauty! i've been observing a huge one growing outside the barn swallow. there is something so vintage and classy about her.
southern magnolia was introduced to europe in 1731. this tree was quickly popularized for its shiny evergreen foliage, showy flowers and elegant form. magnolia grandiflora also was found to be widely adaptable to different climates, soils, and exposures. it was the first magnolia to be widely planted and is now considered the most widely grown ornamental evergreen tree in the world.
as stated here, the bark of magnolia is being researched as an agent against amoebic dysentery. the beautiful flowers have been considered a symbol of purity for thousands of years. in ancient times, this herb was favored for increasing longevity, brightening the eyes and making the body feel light. the parts of this herb used medicinally include the bark and the unopened flower buds.
the unopened flowers are a decongestant and can be used for nasal congestion, sinus headaches, and sinusitis. the flower buds open nasal obstructions by helping the body expel mucus.
the bark has been used to break addiction to cigarettes. the primary properties of magnolia Bark are analgesic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, hypotensive, and stimulant.
the japanese use magnolia to help control stress and anxiety. japanese researchers have determined that "honokiol" and "magnolol", two chemicals found in magnolia bark, are up to 1000 times more potent than Vitamin E in antioxidant activity. the bark also contains isomagnolol, essential oils (eudesmol, maschilol, pinene), alkaloids (magnoflorine, salicifoline, magnocurarine), and tannin. the unopened flower buds contain essential oils (anethole, camphene, cineol, estragole, eugenol, limonene, pinene, safrole), alkaloids, and beta carotene.
magnolia has several known topical usages including its use as a douche (made from the bark) for leukorrhea. in central america, magnolia schiedeana is used topically as a poultice for scorpion stings. in general, bark is harvested from magnolia officinalis, while the unopened flower buds are from magnolia liliflora. the common name magnolia also includes the species magnolia glauca and magnolia grandiflora.