Magnolias symbolized dignity and nobility. In ancient China, magnolias were thought to be the perfect symbols of womanly beauty and gentleness. In the American South, white magnolias are commonly seen in bridal bouquets because the flowers are thought to reflect and emphasize the bride’s purity and nobility (off Wikipedia directly).
Fossil records suggest that the genus has existed from the Cretaceous period (145-66 million years ago), making the Magnolia the first flowering plant.
Beetles generally pollinate magnolias in return the magnolia feeds the beetle a beautiful example of symbiosis. (two living organsims providing mutual benefit).
Why do beetles and not bees pollinate them? Bees were not about in the Cretaceous period. They have only been since 130million years ago. So beetles pollinated plants of the Cretaceous period. The structure of the Magnolia flower and the beetles visiting prior to the flower opening means that it has been pollinated for reproduction prior to other insects coming and taking pollen away.
If you are interested in knowing more about pollination of Magnolias this blog is an enjoyable and light read.
That is amazing to me. I look at the photo I took of this stunning flower on this sculptural tree welcoming the coming spring (here in Tasmania) and am floored to have learnt how these trees have been here on Mother Earth sharing their beautiful blooms. That they have such a fascination but seemingly overlooked (at least by me) and unknown importance to our plant world. There are believed to be over 200 flowering species and you can have deciduous or evergreen Magnolias.
The bark of the magnolia trees M. officinalis, has a long history of being used in herbal medicine.
Today components of the bark are being researched for treatment in mental health illnesses depression, anxiety and bipolar. It may be useful for sleep
It might be useful for sleep, stress, soothe and calm. It is used for these purposes in Traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean medicine.
There has also been research looking at the potential of constituents of the bark in treatment of epilepsy.
I am not endorsing the use of the bark. I am sharing information. Like any medication, from a GP or an alternate therapist/practitioner dosage there may be side effects and or it may interfere with other medications you are taking.
I have often wanted to plant a magnolia yet our springs are usually very rainy and windy here and the blossoms would not last at my place. Instead I admire the uniqueness and splendour of these amazing gifts from Mother Earth. Now shared across many countries. Instead I look at their beauty in gardens that are more protected than mine.
blessings to You, Tazzie
Some of the information shared here is attributed to the following sites and documents.
Magnolia: the Genus of Magnolia. edited by Satyajit D. Sarker, Yuji Maruyama
Biological activity and toxicity of the Chinese herb Magnolia officinalis Rehder & E. Wilson (Houpo) and its constituents
More information https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnolia-bark.
Magnolol, a major bioactive constituent of the bark of Magnolia officinalis, exerts antiepileptic effects via the GABA/benzodiazepine receptor complex in mice Mélanie Poivre and Pierre Duez
all photographs are mostly taken by me on my blog. If I have not taken the photo I will always give credit to the photographer. Please do not share any photos off my blog without getting my permission.