Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana)

Plantae>Magnoliophyta>Magnoliopsida>Magnoliales>Magnoliaceae>Magnolia virginiana L.

Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) flower

Sweetbay is a more petite version of the familiar Magnolia grandiflora, distinguished by its glaucous leaf undersides, smaller flowers, and smaller, thinner leaver.

Bladen Co., NC 8/12/07.

Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) flower

The flowers have an intoxicating rich, sweet scent. Common in the Coastal Plain, occasional in the lower Piedmont of North Carolina.

Carteret Co., NC 5/31/03.

Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) flower

Carteret Co., NC 6/23/04.

Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) leaf

The undersides are normally quite white.

Carteret Co., NC 5/31/03.

Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) fruit

The cone-like fruit (an aggregate of follicles) pops open in late summer to expose bright red seeds.

Carteret Co., NC 8/24/03.

Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) fruit

Carteret Co., NC 8/29/04.

Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana) bark

Bark of a small tree.

Moore Co., NC 3/14/07.

More information:
Silvics Manual
Trees of Alabama and the Southeast
Trees of the Maritime Forest


Revised 11/24/08 cwcook@duke.edu

All photographs and text ©2008 by Will Cook unless otherwise indicated.