This might just be my favorite native tree of all. It never fails to elicit gasps from my guests and questions of "what is that and where can I get one!"
I'm talking about the magnificent Magnolia Macrophylla. Macrophylla means "great leaved" which is most appropriate for this striking tree whose leaves average 2' in length.
Magnolia Macrophylla is deciduous, losing its leaves in the fall. In the spring, it produces enormous dinner plate size white blooms. I must mention the only downside of this amazing tree is the leaf litter in the fall. However, the fallen leaves are easily gathered and composted.
Some people have asked me if it is a banana plant because it has a distinctly tropical look. I planted around ten of these on my own property. So far, I can tell it thrives best in a moist, rich soil away from afternoon sun. My healthiest specimen was planted on the northeast side of the house and is 20' tall after 15 years.
In the summer, sunlight filtering through the leaves is especially beautiful and gives an almost stained glass effect.