Forest 7 - Chinese evergreen magnolia

Magnolia delavayi    Chinese evergreen magnolia

Emerging fruit of Magnolia delavayi in Forest 7 Magnolia delavayi flower in Forest 7

Other common names

Delavay's magnolia

Origin of the species name

Magnolia is named afterPierre Magnol (1638 – 1715), once director of Montpellier Botanic Garden in France; delavayi is named after Pierre Jean Marie Delavay, (1834–1895), a French missionary, explorer and botanist.

Family Magnoliaceae

Date planted

April 2012


Chinese evergreen magnolias can live 36-40 years.

General description

This is a small evergreen tree with pale to dark yellowish-brown bark. The 10-20 cm leaves are broad, tough and leathery. Its flowers, which are scented, cup-shaped, with creamy white to pink petals, usually remain of the tree for a very long period of time. Height 8-15m Spread 5m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to southern China where it occurs in mountain forests in Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan at about 1500-2800 m altitude.

Conservation status

Not listed as a threatened species. It was listed as an endanagered species on the IUCN Red List in 1998 based on a restricted range and fragmented populations, but new distribution data shows a wide range in China. Magnolia delavayi is now listed as Least Concern due to its large distribution in China and the lack of any known threats to the species.


It is the city tree of Chongquing in south-west China and is cultivated as a garden tree with pleasantly scented flowers.

Planting pattern

Just 20 trees surrounded by the Magnolia grandiflora 'Exmouth' host forest.

Further reading