Big Magnolia X alba in San Jose

My koi-keeping hobby has taken me to Cherry Hill Koi near the famously creepy Winchester Mystery House and the trendy Santana Row shopping area. And the most exciting discovery is a big specimen of Magnolia X alba, which I called the king of all fragrant plants in a previous blog entry. For a long time, this species was under the name of Michelia alba, or Michelia champaca ‘alba'(Monrovia Nursery), but a few years ago American botanists lumped all Michelias plus several other related genera into Magnolia. It is also verified that this particular species is indeed a hybrid between Magnolia champaca and Magnolia montana , which accounts for the extra cross sign in the new name.

Regardless of what we call it, this great champion is proving to be just hardy enough for the South Bay, most likely if a favorable micro-climate can be found, as in this case a small courtyard with a pond. Quite possibly the largest of its kind in San Jose, this tree has a trunk of almost a foot in diameter. Sporadic flowers can be seen in the canopy and good fragrance is already wafting around the courtyard. Hopefully my young trees in containers will become as strong and healthy as this one after I plant them out later this year.

Big Magnolia X alba tree
Trunk Flower

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