Magnolia tripetala – commonly called the Umbrella Magnolia. It’s my favourite Magnolia, but possibly only because I grew mine from seed. I’ve written a bit about it before, and I’ve shown a few photos here and there, but today, as the flowers fade and seed heads expand, I learned something new about it, and about plants in general, so I thought I’d share.
In a bit. First, some photos.
Finally, for What I Learned Today. The common name ‘Umbrella’ likely comes from how the large leaves are arranged in whorles at the tip of the branch, like spokes of an umbrella. Plus, the overall shape of a mature tree, with its rounded canopy, looks like an umbrella.
But that much is obvious. What I found interesting, and what I learned, was that the botanical name – tripetala – refers to the three sepals – a word I also just learned – that protect the flower bud itself while developing. Very handy up here, a bit north of its ‘natural’ growing range, since we are prone to surprise, late, frosts. You can see them quite clearly in this photo of a flower starting to open: