Each year right around this time in winter, the early flowering magnolia trees start to captivate – so does, Magnolia doltsopa.
Within the past few weeks, I’ve been tripping over myself to get closer & closer to any one of these trees, also known as “Sweet Michelia.”
The tree’s flower fragrance is spicy & magical, and it’s so heavily scented that you’ll likely want to stop whatever you’re doing, and have a sniff…
Besides having unbelievably fragrant flowers January through March; the white multipetalled waxy flowers (as you can see) are also very beautiful and prolific. I’ve got my eye out watching and smelling several, so I’ll follow-up with more info. 🙂
Recent sightings of this flowering tree in it’s splendor were at found at (1) San Francisco Botanical gardens. This one has the new name labeled on the tree sign: Magnolia doltsopa. Sorry to confuse you, but botanists have recently changed the name from the former latin name: Michelia doltsopa to Magnolia doltsopa. Either way remember the species: “doltsopa” and pick one of the two genuses, Magnolia or Michelia, and you should be fine. I’m going to stick with Magnolia for now – even though names take a long time to change in horticulture!
The three photos below show a beautiful Magnolia doltsopa in the Aids Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. The photo in the middle is of these interesting patterns that formed when the flower petals were stepped on by passerbys. They are actually patterns of peoples footwear. Unfortunately, the flowers shriveled and browned-out further, as the hours passed.
Though many sources list Magnolia doltsopa as being semi-evergreen. I’ve only ever seen them – full leaf, year round – in the San Francisco Bay Area. This tree is hardy to zone 9, so mild climates is it’s thing.
A variety of of Magnolia doltsopa, that’s supposed to be more compact, is Magnolia d. ‘Silver Cloud.’ I see that Monrovia grows this variety as do many other growers. I spotted one recently growing outside of the SF Botanical gardens, looking like quite the warrior.
If you are interested in buying this tree, here’s some information:
Magnolia doltsopa (previously called Michelia doltsopa).
China & Himalayas.
Fast growth up to 40 feet tall, 20 to 30 feet wide.
Varies from bushy to narrow and upright.
Zones: 9 -11.
Depends upon where you live. In Northern California, it blooms is winter through early spring: January – March. Check your area for specifics.
Creamy or white. Resembles flowers of saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana). Individual flowers have 12 to 16 petals. Numerous flowers are borne from furry buds located among leaves near branch ends.
Leaves: Almost look boat shaped. They are oblong, thin, leathery and dark green. Measuring about 3 to 8 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide.
Magnolila doltsopa ‘Silver Cloud.’ This variety is supposed to be a smaller and neater tree than Magnolia doltsopa. Magnolia-like flowers of creamy white with a delightful fruity fragrance last 3-4 months.
Moderate. Needs regular watering – weekly, or more often in extreme heat. Not drought tolerant.
Full sun to part shade
Well drained organic acidic soil.
Under story tree or shrub, accent tree for flowers and fragrance. Timber tree in Himalayas.
Sometimes unpredictable as trees can be difficult to propagate.