Monthly Archives: May 2017

Tulips Grow on Trees

Magnolia sunbathing 

  • Tulips do not grow on trees. Magnolias do. The person who came up with the name ‘Tulip Tree’ had a good point though, especially in their buds, magnolia flowers look like tulips. To me, when they are fully opened up, they look like lotuses. Good that we call them Magnolias. They are regarded as spring flowers, just like the tulips, but in Marseille you never know if they are announcing the summer, as the weather gets quickly warmer.

Resembling a Lotus; a Magnolia flower unfolds its petals

  • Across from my street, tall Magnolia trees grow in the front yards of apartment buildings, and whenever I pass by I am captivated by their presence. In gathering some information for this Vignette, I discovered that the Magnolia is one of the oldest species on earth, this tree existed even before the time of the bees, about 20 million years ago.

Matchstick-like stamens on a Magnolia petal

  • These trees have been part of earth’s evolution up to today, and are native to North, Central and South America, East and Southeast Asia. As there are over 200 species, the flowers can vary in diameter between seven to thirty centimeters. The several cultural significances that have been given to the Magnolia flower are nobility, purity, perseverance and, of course, beauty. 

The golden heart of the Magnolia flower 

  • And of immense beauty they are. The petals are almost succulently thick and the flowers, especially those from the Magnolia grandiflora, give a subtle yet rich fragrance. Inspiring, when you realise that such a giant plant has survived the severe changes that have occurred throughout time.