Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) is an elegant, small magnolia.
It’s creamy white flowers bloom in late spring here in Northern Ohio and put on a show that delights your senses of sight and smell. It’s clusters of red fruit attract wildlife in the summer and fall.
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, one of Ohio’s most commonly seen and recognized butterfly, uses sweetbay magnolia and a handful of other plants and trees as host plants. Some scientific research suggests that butterflies might use a variety of host plants to “balance the conflicting needs” of male and female larvae, proposing the idea that each plant might offer a different suite of nutrients to different caterpillars.
Where else can you see this plant growing at the Arboretum?
Look for sweetbay magnolia around the Blueberry Pond Loop trail.