Native Swamp or Sweetbay Magnolia

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One of my favorite trees is the Swamp or Sweetbay Magnolia Magnolia virginiania. It is evergreen (at least in Carteret County), has aromatic leaves and twigs, beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers, grows in wet and damp areas, is deer resistant, and requires minimal maintenance. Because it is native, it has been adapted to our environment over the course of thousands of years and can handle our local climate, including a resistance to salt.

The flowers bloom throughout the summer months, often times in correlation with other magnolia species. These flowers attract pollinators and the fruit produced by the tree is edible (however, I have not tried it personally). Always, consult a professional for verification before ingesting any unknown fruit. If planting, the Swamp Magnolia prefers full sun (6 or more hours per day) and a more acidic soil. If you have an area in your yard that floods occasionally, this is an excellent choice.

If there is a particular tree you have an issue with or need help identifying, contact North Carolina Cooperative Extension or call (252) 222-6352.

Written by Michael W. Thomas – Extension Master Gardener Volunteer – Carteret County