This is one more look at trees of SE Louisiana, where Magnolia and Mimosa trees bloom in the late spring. The next blog post will shift focus back to the lake country of Minnesota.
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) are highly valued trees that are strongly associated with the southern United States. It is the state tree of Mississippi and the state flower of Louisiana.
The ancient genus Magnolia includes over 200 flowering plants. This genus was among the first flowering plants to evolve, around 95 million years ago. It is thought that the magnolia flower developed before bees were available as pollinators, which is likely why magnolias rely mainly on beetles for pollination.
The Magnolia genus is named for French botanist Pierre Magnol.
There are positive and negative aspects to the mimosa tree, also known as the Persian silk tree. As implied by the name, it is native to southwestern Asia.
In late spring and summer the beautiful pink flowers of the mimosa bloom with a pleasing scent attractive to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. It is also a fast-growing tree with a spreading form that effectively provides shade.
On the negative side, the tree is weak and short-lived. It is also messy when it drops its blooms, and later when it drops its large seed pods. It is not native to North America and is restricted in some areas as an invasive species.