Saturday, March 5, 2011

Magnolia - First Looks

A sign of Spring is the swelling of the Magnolia buds. My Mom's tree lost a few branches during our heavy snowfalls and even the fallen branches are showing signs of life. I've taken a few cuts in water. Even if they don't bloom, the branches will provide wonderful studies in themselves.

Interspersed between my photos are a few facts from Wikipedia.

"Magnolia is an ancient genus. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. As a result, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are tough, to avoid damage by eating and crawling beetles. Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae dating to 95 million years ago. Another primitive aspect of Magnolias is their lack of distinct sepals or petals."

"In 1703 Charles Plumier (1646–1704) described a flowering tree from the island of Martinique in his Genera. He gave the species, known locally as 'talauma', the genus name Magnolia, after Pierre Magnol."

"Magnol's most important contribution to science is without doubt the invention of the concept of plant families, a natural classification, based on combinations of morphological characters, as set out in his Prodromus historiae generalis plantarum, in quo familiae plantarum per tabulas disponuntur (1689). In Magnol's day it was common belief that all species had come into existence by divine creation as set out in the Book of Genesis, in which case there's no cause to assume family ties between species. Remember that Magnol was a convinced Protestant. Nevertheless his work may be regarded as one of the first steps towards the composition of a tree of life. In his Prodromus he developed 75 tables, which not only grouped plants into families but also allowed for an easy and rapid identification by means of the morphological characters, the same he used to compose the groups."


  1. No signs of (spring) life up this way- the snow banks in our driveway are still over my head! Although, if you squint your eyes and stare at the birch trees long enough, a faint ( and I do mean faint) reddish tinge is barely perceptible. I haven't even seen any sap buckets up yet- our sugaring season was done by this time last year.
    Good idea to bring some branches in to force into buds- I think I will do the same!

  2. I recently thought I saw increasing golden color on the weeping willows. Thought of Judith's willows...

    Noticed a long sugar maple icicle on a broken branch.

    It's hard to believe it is really happening. This winter has left me caught in some never ending cycle. Nature knows better.