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Sweet Bay Magnolia

Magnolia virginiana

Thomas Jefferson planted Sweet Bay trees adjacent to the house at Monticello and also observed the species flowering on May 22, 1808. Sweet Bay was the first Magnolia cultivated in European gardens. It was introduced to England from Virginia by John Bannister in 1688. In 1705, a pioneer natural historian from Virginia, Robert Beverly, wrote of the blossoms: "The pleasantest smell in the world." This was the most common Magnolia sold by American nurseries early in the 19th century.

Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Sweet Bay Magnolia.
Growth Type: 
Evergreen Tree
Hardiness Zones: 
Zone 9
Location at Monticello: 
West Lawn
Planting Conditions: 
Blooming History: 
May 18, 2018 to June 21, 2018May 16, 2019 to June 18, 2019


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