Have you ever felt like you knew every inch of a place, a garden or a park, thought you knew every plant there? For the last year and a half I have walked the Learning Garden, looking at every plant. Imagine my surprise when I was walking through the tree and shrub area and found a tree I didn’t remember seeing before. In early December I was checking out the Osmanthus fragrans and saw this tree, now where in the world did that come from?? The name was a new one for me as well. Michelia maudriae, have you heard of it? In order to research this I had to look far and wide.
I did find some information from Michael Dirr’s Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates, it is a shade tolerant, 12+ Ft. shrub, with white, fragrant flowers that bloom in the April time frame on old wood. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree. The fragrance of its blooms is said remind one of banana oil. One of its common names is Banana Shrub. Makes sense right? I think I may have seen one in the Norfolk Botanical Garden. I remember a magnolia type tree with blooms that smelled of bananas. As there was no name on the tree that we could find, I am only guessing. Les? Do you know of this tree in the NBG?
The Michelia is a member of the Magnolia family and has recently been reclassified as a Magnolia. It does differ from Magnolias as it blooms on its leaf axis opposed to Magnolias that bloom on terminal buds. There are multiple cultivars of the Michelia, some with purple blooms.
Wikipedia-good background information, JC Raulston Arboretum-wonderful photos, University of Florida Extension-nice info, and from down under- Burke’s Backyard gives a little background information on the tree.
Next week’s tree- Long leaf Pine
words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.