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Featured Plant

Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'


Scientific Name: Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'

Common Names: 

Family: Magnoliaceae

Plant Type: Tree

Environment: Best when protected from the wind to protect brittle branches and flowers; grows well in acidic, moist, well-drained soil; Never plant magnolias too deep, the top of the soil should meet the existing ground level.

Bloom: Dark pink/wine colored cup and saucer shaped flowers appearing in February and March.

Uses: Will need some space in any garden. Plants start as single-stemmed when young, but become broad and multi-stemmed as they mature.

Other: The current classification of the Magnolia family (Magnoliaceae) includes only two genera, Magnolia and Liriodendron. All other genera, including Michelia, Manglietia, and Talauma, have been lumped into the genus Magnolia. Magnolia campbellii 'Betty Jessel' comes from seed from the same tree as 'Darjeeling'



Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling'

Once you have encountered the magnificent deep pink flowers of this cultivar of Magnolia campbellii you will not soon forget it. Some say it is the most spectacular of all of the magnolias that bloom at the Botanical Garden. Our Magnolia campbellii 'Darjeeling' has been propagated through cuttings from a tree growing in the Lloyd Botanic Garden in Darjeeling, India. This specimen provides a unique opportunity to get a close-up view of the flowers as it is young and only about 25' tall with low-hanging branches.

Magnolia campbellii flowers have a cup and saucer shape due to the stiff upright position of the inner tepals surrounded by stiff lateral outer tepals. These trees are deciduous, with flowers emerging on leafless branches in dramatic display against the grey winter sky. They reportedly reach as high as 150 feet with a trunk diameter of 10-20 feet. First discovered in 1842, it is a Himalayan species named for Dr. Archibald Campbell, a public servant from the U.K. living in Darjeeling.

San Francisco Botanical Garden's Magnolia collection includes 90 species and cultivars, with over 150 individual plants. In 2007, our magnolia collection was ranked 4th in the world for the conservation of Magnoliaceae (Magnolia family). With 28 Magnolia campbellii trees spread throughout the Garden, there are stunning views to be seen from many vantage points in February and March. Now is the time to take in these views and treat yourself to these ephemeral beauties.


Photos by Docent Joanne Taylor; text by Docent Kathy McNeil; profile by Associate Curator David Kruse-Pickler


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