Main site sections:
Plants section links:


  • San Diego Zoo and Safari Park

Bloom time (approximate):

  • May thru September


Plants: Species

Magnolia: Southern Magnolia Magnolia grandiflora


A gorgeous flowering tree is the large southern magnolia Magnolia grandiflora. Southern Californians have a love-hate relationship with these spectacular southern magnolias: they love the tree's striking dark shiny leaves and glorious large white fragrant blossoms, but hate having to water it regularly and rake up its flower parts and leathery dead leaves from May through September. That's one of the nice things about the Zoo and theSafari Park: you can enjoy our incredible plant collections without having to do all the work that goes into maintaining them!

The creamy white, intoxicatingly fragrant flowers of the southern magnolia are not its only remarkable feature: its progression from flower to fruit to seed is also notable. This evergreen plant produces its famous delicate, white flowers, which open at night to entice a variety of nocturnal pollinators. A fertilized flower develops into an overlapping cluster of pinkish orange fruit, which oddly resembles a blushing pine cone. Then the demure magnolia has one more secret to reveal: its seeds are scarlet red.