To celebrate Mississippi’s Arbor Day on Feb. 11, we’re spotlighting the state tree – the Southern magnolia. The Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) has the distinction of being Mississippi’s state flowerand its state tree. School children selected the Southern magnolia as the stateflower because of the tree’s large, white blossoms in 1900 (but it was officially adopted in 1952). The Mississippi state legislature officially adopted it as the state tree in 1938.
In 1986 the American Forestry Association awarded a southern magnolia in Smith County, Mississippi, the distinctive title of National Champion. At a height of 122 feet and diameter of more than six feet, this tree became the largest southern magnolia reported in the United States.
This tree thrives in the rich, moist, well-drained soils ofthe lower South. It grows with other hardwoods and is marketed as magnolia lumber along with other magnolia species to make furniture, pallets and veneer.
The largest privately planted grove of these trees is not located in Mississippi, but is rumored to be at Milky Way Farm (owned by the Mars candy family) in Southern Tennessee.
[Photo credit: TreeInPot.com]