Trees of London |
St Mary Le Strand
It is debatable whether the Magnolia ought to be categorized as a tree, since it could easily pass as a large shrub and it is not much bigger than a rhododendron. Nevertheless, it is usually referred to as a Magnolia tree and because there are so many of them in London, it is worth pointing one or two of them out. There are several species of them with differing coloured flowers. There are two by the entrance of St Mary Le strand and one in the churchyard of St Olave's in Seething Lane, and then there is one in the garden of Queen's House, the Quaker building the other side of the Euston Road from Euston Square.
The Magnolia looks exotic and no one will win any prizes for guessing that it is not a native tree. It is native to North America and Asia, and has been around for a long time, possibly over fifty million years, give or take ten million.
It has windy branches and grows to about the height of two men, and usually has the bud of a flower visible all year around, although the very striking flower, which is its most identifiable feature, is only there for a short time in the spring. These vary in colour and look and are very robust. It is thought that they evolved to attract a beetle to germinate and not the conventional bees and wasps.
It was named after a French botanist called Pierre Magnol who was around in the seventeenth century.
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