Magnolia campbelli
Section Yulania
Epithet: named after Archibald Campbell by Sir Joseph Hooker in 1855, political resident in Darjeeling.
Eastern Nepal eastwards through Sikkim, Bhutan, Assam and Yunnan.
It is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree growing to 30m, rarely to 45m, tall, with smooth grey bark.
Flowers: very large, 150-250mm diameter, with 12-16 tepals, which vary from white to dark pink. After opening, the innermost tepals remain erect while the others spread widely ('cup-and-saucer'). This arrangement may shelter the stamens and stigmas from rain, snow, and other harsh environmental conditions common during their very early flowering time period.
They appear very early, before the leaves, opening from late winter to early spring.
Foliage: 100-230mm x 45-100mm, fuzzy underneath and with an acute apex.
As there is such a wide geographic range there is a great variation within the species.
Plants of this species raised from seed can take a long time before they start to flower, 20-25 years is not uncommon, although grafted plants of named cultivars will flower in 12-15 years.
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Location: Caerhays Castle 2009
Photo: Stephen Lyus

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Location: Caerhays Castle 2009
Photo: Stephen Lyus

Click on image for larger version
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Location: Caerhays Castle 2009
Photo: Stephen Lyus