Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Rare Magnolia maudiae subsp, aprilis-stultus discovered at Westonbirt Arboretum

Posted: April 1, 2017 at 18:20 pm

At Westonbirt Arboretum we care for many rare and remarkable trees, and we are thrilled to announce that early this morning one of our Magnolia maudiae was discovered to be the incredibly rare Magnolia maudiae subsp.aprilis-stultus.

This subspecies is distinctive because once it reaches maturity, for a few weeks in early spring its leaves lose their green colouring, and take on a variety of vibrant colours.


Magnolia maudiae is normally an evergreen tree, however, earlier this year the beautiful silver green leaves on one of our magnolias began to lose their green colour, and an astonishing variety of reds, pinks, purples, oranges and even blues appeared. This morning our collections team confirmed that what we had initially thought to be a normal Magnolia maudiae, was in fact a rare subspecies, Magnolia maudiae subsp. aprilis-stultus.

There are only a few hundred examples of this tree known to grow across the globe, the vast majority of which are to be found in China; so naturally we are very excited to have one growing here at Westonbirt!

Due to the rarity of this tree, and the fact that the vibrant colours show for a very short space of time, there are very few opportunities to study the extraordinary leaves. We will take this opportunity to learn as much as we can about the tree and to share our findings with our visitors.

The tree has now been cordoned off for study by our collections team, but visitors will soon be able to see it for themselves and discover more about this amazing magnolia. More information will be released shortly, so watch this space for further details!