Magnolia kobus

Kobus Magnolia




  • native to Japan
  • hardy to zone 4 and warmer parts of 3

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous, medium-sized tree
  • multi-stemmed
  • 25' tall
  • 35' wide
  • rounded and widespreading
  • dense
  • coarse texture
  • slow growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • alternate leaf arrangement
  • simple, deciduous leaves
  • 3" to 6" long
  • obovate leaf shape
  • entire leaf margins
  • dark green leaf color
  • pointed apex
  • glabrous leaf underside

Autumn Foliage

  • yellow fall color
  • somewhat showy


  • white with pink tinge flowers
  • pleasant fragrance
  • blooms in spring
  • showy
  • 4" across
  • young trees don't flower


  • elongated aggregate of follicles, 1" to 3" long
  • red seeds
  • showy
  • persistent
  • attracts birds


  • slender, green stems
  • brown spots cover twigs
  • vertical gray lenticels
  • strong odor when broken
  • older bark is gray-brown


  • full sun to partial shade
  • soil tolerant
  • transplant from container
  • prune after flowering
  • prefers rich, well-drained soil
  • alkaline tolerant

Landscape Use

  • as a specimen
  • large planter
  • patio tree


  • thin bark easily damaged by lawn equipment
  • scale
  • doesn't flower first few years

ID Features

  • 1" to 1.5" long terminal flower buds
  • terminal buds have silky, gray pubescence
  • valvate lateral buds have greenish-gray pubescence
  • brown spots cover stems
  • vertical gray lenticels
  • strong odor when branch bruised
  • 3" top 6" long, obovate leaves
  • red seeds
  • white flowers


  • by seed
  • by cuttings


Some authorities consider Magnolia stellata to be a variety of M. kobus, but M. stellata is treated as a separate species in this database.

var. borealis (also listed as 'Borealis') - This plant represents a larger form of the species, forming a pyramidal tree to 75' tall. It is covered in white flowers in very early spring. The plant is also supposedly more hardy than the species, to USDA zone 3.

'Wada's Memory' - A hybrid with M. salicifolia, this plant grows vigorously to form a pyramidal tree 25' tall. It blooms in early spring with white, fragrant flowers that droop slightly. The leaves emerge tinged red, mature to a deep green and may color a good yellow in Fall.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.