T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Magnolia obovata (Japanese bigleaf magnolia)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
Subgenus: Magnolia subg. Magnolia
Section: M. sect. Rhytidospermum subsect. Oyama
Species: M. obovata
Binomial name: Magnolia obovata
Synonym: Magnolia hypoleuca
Common names: Japanese bigleaf magnolia, Japanese whitebark magnolia

Magnolia obovata is a species of Magnolia that is native to Japan and the adjacent Kurile Islands. It grows at altitudes near sea level up to 1,800 m in mixed broadleaf forests.
It is a medium-sized deciduous tree 15–30 m tall, with slate grey bark. The leaves are large, 16–38 cm (rarely to 50 cm) long and 9–20 cm (rarely 25 cm) broad, leathery, green above, silvery or greyish pubescent below, and with an acute apex. They are held in whorls of five to eight at the end of each shoot. The flowers are also large, cup-shaped, 15–20 cm diameter, with 9-12 creamy, fleshy tepals, red stamens; they have a strong scent, and are produced in early summer after the leaves expand. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by beetles and flies.
The fruit is an oblong-cylindric aggregate of follicles 12–20 cm long and 6 cm broad, bright pinkish red, each follicle containing one or two black seeds with a fleshy orange-red coating.
In Japan the light strong wood is sought by craftsmen. In parts of Japan, the large leaves are used for wrapping food, and also as a makeshift dish to grill meat or vegetables, such as leeks, mushrooms, and miso in hoba miso.

Flower bud just splitting open

New flower buds and large leaves.