Magnolia ‘Elizabeth’ has the best of two continents. The color of its creamy-yellow flowers comes from the deep yellow flowers of the native cucumber tree (M. acuminata) and the ivory ones of the yulan magnolia (M. denudata), a Chinese species. Its later bloom time is thanks to the DNA of the cucumber tree, making 'Elizabeth' damage-free from frost and cold snaps. But it is yulan that has passed on the magical genes to flower before it leafs out. And we can thank Brooklyn Botanic Garden for developing this hybrid.
Text and tree photos by Hughie Jones
Flower photo by Tresa Horney