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Umbrella Magnolia

Umbrella Magnolia (Magnolia tripetala)

STATE STATUS: Potentially Threatened

FAMILY: Magnoliaceae 
 
DESCRIPTION: Small tree to 10 m., often with many stems arising very near each other and growing at an angle; flowering late May.  
 
SIMILAR SPECIES: Very similar to Magnolia macrophylla, but differing in a number of characters. M. tripetala has leaves tapered to base and terminal buds glabrous, and M. macrophylla has leaves auricled at base and terminal buds pubescent. Also similar to M. acuminata, which has smaller non-auricled leaves and pubescent terminal buds.  
 
TOTAL RANGE: GA to AR, n. to s. PA, WV, OH, KY, and e. MO.   
 
STATE RANGE: There are post-1980 specimens from Gallia, Jackson, Scioto, and Vinton counties.  
 
HABITAT: Mesic shaded ravines and coves.  
 
THREATS: Opening of the canopy by logging operations. This tree is apparently unable to tolerate direct sunlight.  
 
RECOVERY POTENTIAL: Unknown, but this tree has been reported to spread from cultivation in Massachusetts (Stone, 1913).  
 
INVENTORY GUIDELINES: The leaves and buds of this species are sufficient for identification; the very few populations should not be disturbed.  
 
COMMENTS: This plant is at the northern edge of its range on the Allegheny Plateau. Its Ohio distribution conforms very well to the preglacial Teays River drainage lines and its major tributaries. This plant very possibly reached Ohio in preglacial times by seeds carried along this river. This plant has interesting adaptations to insure cross-pollination. It is pollinated by beetles, which feed on various flower parts (Thien, 1974).  
 
SELECTED REFERENCES:  
 
Braun, E.L. 1961. The woody plants of Ohio. The Ohio State Univ. Press, Columbus OH. 362 pp.  
 
Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist.  1991.  Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada.  New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.  910 pp. 
 
Harriman, N.A. 1969. Magnolia tripetala L. and Aralia spinosa L. in St. Louis County, Missouri. Rhodora 71: 478-479.  
 
Miller, R.F. 1975. The deciduous Magnolias of West Florida. Rhodora 77: 64-75.  
 
Rockwell, H.C., Jr. 1966. The genus Magnolia in the United States. M.A. thesis, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. 93 p.  
 
Stone, G.E. 1913. Magnolia tripetala in Springfield, Massachusetts. Rhodora 15: 63.  
 
Thien, L.B. 1974. Floral biology of Magnolia. Am. J. Bot. 61: 1037-1045.  

UPDATED 12/2020
 

For more information:

Division of Natural Areas and Preserves

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