Spermatophytes (seed plants): Angiosperms (flowering plants): Magnoliids: Magnoliales
Dig deeper at SERNEC, a consortium of southeastern herbaria.
You may enjoy reading South Carolina's Native Magnolias by Richard B. Figlar.
You may also want to check Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of North Carolina
Very few species have leaves with such a distinct contrast between dark green above and white below. Learn more at Vascular Plants of North Carolina.
INCLUDED WITHIN Flora of North America
INCLUDED WITHIN VASCULAR FLORA OF THE CAROLINAS (Radford, Ahles, & Bell, 1968) 080-02-001:
Magnolia virginiana FAMILY Magnoliaceae
INCLUDED WITHIN Manual of the Southeastern Flora (Small, 1933, 1938)
Sweetbay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Swampbay
To see larger pictures, click or hover over the thumbnails.
JK Marlow jkm110417_028
April Cleburne County AL
Sweetbay Magnolia on the left, Bayberry on the right
JK Marlow jkm110417_948
April Cleburne County AL
Blades thin, leathery, narrowing toward both ends, silvery pubescent below, per Native Trees of the Southeast, An Identification Guide (Kirkman, Brown, & Leopold, 2007).
Gill Newberry gn05_m_virginiana_flower
The creamy white, fragrant bloom is about 3-6" across. Spring, early summer, per Gardening with the Native Plants of Tennessee (Hunter, 2002).
Patrick D. McMillan pdmmvirginiana_fruitcp3
July Barnwell County SC
Fruit a cone-like aggregate of dark red, ellipsoid follicles, about 2" long, per Native Trees of the Southeast, An Identification Guide (Kirkman, Brown, & Leopold, 2007).
COMPARE fruits that are an aggregate of follicles
Will Stuart wil_9473216572_e9e55b2ea9
August Chesterfield County SC
Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge
JK Marlow s060909_de
September Greenville County SC
SC Native Plant Society Plant Sale
Leaves whitened below, 4-6" long, per Woody Plants of the Blue Ridge (Lance).
COMPARE leaves of Magnolia species
Paul Thompson pstmagnolia_virginiana
Leaf undersides are glaucous. Stipule scars encircle twigs. — Clemson Extension
Flora of North America
Manual of the Southeastern Flora (Small, 1933, 1938)
Look for it in pocosins, bay forests, & swamps in Coastal Plain, streamhead pocosins, swamps, & sandhill seeps in the Sandhills, bogs & peaty swamps in Piedmont (& Mountains, in the case of var. australis), per Weakley's Flora
Native to the Carolinas & Georgia
Exact distributions need more study, but one variety or the other may be common in Coastal Plain; both are rare elsewhere
Click here to see a map showing all occurrences known to SERNEC, a consortium of southeastern herbaria. (Zoom in to see more detail.)
Evergreen or Semi-evergreen
Aggregate of follicles
TO LEARN MORE about this plant, look it up in a good book!
- Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Wasowski & Wasowski, 1994, 2020) p046
- Guide to the Wildflowers of SC (Porcher & Rayner, 2001) p308
- Identifying Trees: An All-Season Guide to Eastern North America (Williams, 2007) p254
- Landscaping with Native Trees (Sternberg & Wilson, 1995) p152
- Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants p035
- Native Shrubs and Woody Vines of the Southeast (Foote & Jones, 1989) p060
- Native Trees of the Southeast, An Identification Guide (Kirkman, Brown, & Leopold, 2007) p241
- Newcomb's Wildflower Guide (Newcomb, 1977) p396
- Trees of the Southeastern United States (Duncan & Duncan, 1988) p106
- Wildflowers of the Carolina Lowcountry (Porcher, 1995) p117
- Wild Flowers of NC, 2nd edition (Justice, Bell, & Lindsey, 2005) p084
- Woody Plants of the Blue Ridge (Lance) p32
- Woody Plants of the Southeastern US: A Winter Guide (Lance, 2004) p206
- Wildflowers of the Sandhills Region (Sorrie, 2011) p167