Bernheim at 90: Celebrating the Magnolia Collection

By Bernheim

The first Magnolia plantings began in 1960, and now the Magnolia Collection at Bernheim boasts over 120 Magnolia selections. While some magnolia varieties are evergreen and bloom in the summer, most are deciduous and produce blooms in early spring. Specimens in the Magnolia Collection vary dramatically in size, shape, and color and produce fragrant, showy blooms in white, pink, red, purple, or yellow. The Magnolia Collection at Bernheim currently encompasses 19 species of Magnolia and Magnolia hybrids.

One of the most identifiable and well-loved varieties of Magnolia here at Bernheim Arboretum is the Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora). It’s glossy green leaves, creamy-white flowers, and intoxicating smell are a southern staple of summer. Our largest grove of Southern Magnolias can be found adjacent to the spring house near the Education Center.

Perhaps the most exotic specimen in the Magnolia collection is the Big-leaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla). Although native to the southeastern United States, this unique tree is rarely found in the wild. It boasts oblong oval-shaped leaves up to 30 inches long, which are the largest simple leaves of any indigenous North American tree. The Big-leaf Magnolia typically grows between 30-40 feet tall and produces white and purple flowers in May.

Come visit these and other magnolia specimens as we celebrate our 90th anniversary here at Bernheim!

  • Magnolia Kobus (Kobus magnolia)
  • Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia)
  • Magnolia liliflora (tulip/lily magnolia)
  • Magnolia stellate (star magnolia)
  • Magnolia sprengeri (Sprenger’s magnolia)
  • Magnolia x soulangiana (saucer magnolia)
  • Magnolia cylindrical (Huangshan magnolia)
  • Magnolia sieboldii (Oyama magnolia)
  • Magnolia wilsonii (Wilson’s magnolia)
  • Magnolia officinalis (Houpu magnolia)
  • Magnolia acuminata (cucumbertree magnolia)
  • Magnolia obovatus (Japanese whitebark magnolia)
  • Magnolia macrophylla (Big-leaf magnolia)
  • Magnolia salicifolia (anise magnolia)
  • Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay magnolia)
  • Magnolia asheii (Ashe’s magnolia)
  • Magnolia zenii (Zen magnolia)
  • Magnolia fraseri (mountain magnolia)
  • Magnolia x hybrids (hybrid magnolia)

In 2019, Bernheim celebrates 90 years of connecting people with nature. At over 25 square miles, Bernheim is the largest privately held forest dedicated to conservation and education in the region. Our arboretum is home to plant collections of over 8,000 varieties, public art, and educational programming for thousands of students.  Our pristine forest hosts hikers and outdoor adventures alongside research and conservation projects which will serve to protect the environment for future generations.

As a 100% member and donor supported organization, we could not fulfill this important mission without you. We hope you’ll continue to support our efforts throughout the next 90 years.  Join or donate by clicking here.

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