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ntroduced Photo: Tabish
Common name: Magnolia, Southern magnolia • Hindi: हिम चम्पा Him champa • Kannada: ಸೀಮೆಸಂಪಿಗೆ Seeme sampige, ಸೀಮೆಚಂಪಕ Seeme champaka • Manipuri: ꯎꯊꯝꯕꯥꯜ Oothambal • Nepali: रुख कमल Rukh Kamal
Botanical name: Magnolia grandiflora     Family: Magnoliaceae (Magnolia family)

Magnolia, a native of the southeastern US, is one of the most magnificent of the fragrant trees. It's trunk is typically straight and erect with spreading branches that form a dense, broadly pyramidal crown. It has large, thick, leathery dark green leaves which are up to 10 inches long. In the spring, they have a golden to rust color on their undersides. The large evergreen trees may grow to 90 ft tall, and the fragrant white blossoms that have smooth, almost velvet-looking petals, are 8-12 inches across. The snow white flowers are huge, and cup-shaped when young. The fruits are reddish-brown conelike structures, 2-4 in long, with bright red kidney shaped seeds that hang from little threads when fully mature in autumn. In the US, the magnolia is used as a street tree, a free standing specimen, a framing tree, or shade tree. In most parts of India, magnolias are grown only in select well-maintained gardens. In Manipur, magnolias are commonly grown - the Manipuri name ootahmbal means "tree lotus" - flowers are used as offering in puja.

Identification credit: Radhika Vathsan Photographed in Lodhi gardens, Delhi and Dehradoon.

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