Magnolia stellata
Common name: 
Star Magnolia
mag-NO-li-a ste-LAH-ta
Magnolia kobus var. stellata
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous shrub/tree, 15-20 ft x 10-15 ft (4.5-6 x 3-4.5 m), dense oval to round, suckers are common.  Leaves alternate, simple, entire, 5-10 cm long, gradually tapering to base. Flower buds are densely pubescent, silvery, 8-13 mm long.   Usually the first magnolia to bloom in spring.  Flowers are 7.5-10 cm wide, with 12-18 petals (tepals), each strap-shaped, usually white, but some pink (stellata: star-like, the flowers).
  • Sun to light shade, prefers a peaty, organic soil.  A popular Magnolia because it will flower when only 2-3 years old.  Plant in a location that will protect the flowers from damage to inclement spring weather.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 5      Native to Japan, cultivated there for centuries.
  • A number of cultivars are more or less available, Dirr (1998) lists about 25 and Sunset Western Garden Book lists 6, including:
    • ‘Rosea’  -  pinkish (reddish?) buds open to pink flowers that soon fade to white; several forms offered under this name.
    • ‘Royal Star’  -  silvery pale buds open to clear white flowers with up to 25 petals.  Very common in commerce, a seedling of ‘Waterlily’.
    • ‘Waterlily’  -  pinkish buds, fragrant white flowers flushed with pink, with more than 30 petals, flowers later than ‘Royal Star’, likely more than one clone sold under this name.  The English ‘Water Lily’ (two words) has no trace of pink in the flowers (Gardiner, 2000).
  • Corvallis: five in the northeast corner of Central Park
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: east side of the Ag. and Life Sciences arch; also near the west entrance to Kidder Hall.
Click image to enlarge
  • flower buds, winter and spring

    flower buds, winter and spring

  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • plant habit, flowering

    plant habit, flowering

  • flowers


  • flowers, pink cultivar

    flowers, pink cultivar

  • leaves


  • leaves, comparison

    leaves, comparison

  • leaves and developing fruit

    leaves and developing fruit

  • mature fruit releasing seeds

    mature fruit releasing seeds

  • leaves and flower bud, fall

    leaves and flower bud, fall