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We hope you enjoyed our April Fool on the Magnolia maudiae subsp. aprilis-stultus

Ok, you got us… there is no tree with multi-coloured leaves here at Westonbirt, and the Magnolia maudiae subsp. aprilis-stultus doesn’t actually exist. But we hope you enjoyed our April Fool!

Magnolia maudiae may not have a subsp. aprilis-stultus with multi-coloured leaves, but it’s beautiful silvery green leaves and ivory white flowers make it a must see at Westonbirt during late March and early April.

Westonbirt April foolThe white flowers of the tree come into bloom in the early-mid spring, and give off a tropical fragrance. Unlike many trees and shrubs, the flowers range across the branches of the tree, and their beautiful shape and colour have earned it the name ‘the smiling lily tree’ (or ‘the smiling monkey tree’). Endemic to China, in particular the Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian provinces, the tree can grow to around 20 metres in height in evergreen  broadleaf  forests.

Magnolias were one of the first flowering plants to evolve, and were named for the French physician and botanist Pierre Magnol. There are around 120 deciduous and evergreen species of magnolia growing around the world, mostly in temperate regions; China in particular is a hub of magnolia distribution and diversity. Their gorgeous goblet or star shaped flowers and array of colours make them an icon of springtime.

We have around 30 different species of magnolias here at Westonbirt, the largest of which is over 24m (80ft)! Their preference for deep fertile soil means that the majority them (including the Magnolia maudiae) can be found in Savill Glade. Some of our favourites here at Westonbirt include the Himalayan tulip tree, Magnolia campbellii, and our Goddess Magnolia , Magnolia sprengeri 'Westonbirt Diva.'

Discover more about the magnificent magnolias we care for here at Westonbirt, and the best times of year to see them!

Last updated: 10th July 2017

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.