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Japanese Magnolias

AKA Saucer Magnolia, Tupil Magnolia, a small deciduous tree.

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When these flowers pop out in February, I always think it must be too soon, that they are too delicate for the cold weather.
Japanese Magnolias

Japanese Magnolias, AKA Saucer Magnolia, a small deciduous tree.

Julia Houston
This is one of my super-favorite flowers. The trees only bloom once a year towards the end of winter, and they don't last long. But while they bloom, the city feels washed in watercolors. I took this picture in front of a house on St. Charles Ave. near Napoleon.

What really makes the flowers striking is that they bloom before the spring leaves appear, so it looks like twig lace-work erupts into pink and purple petals.

If you have these around your neighborhood, enjoy them -- especially if you don't have one in your yard. Owners of them tell me the petals get very slimy once they fall, and are almost impossible to clean up.

Scientifically speaking: magnolia liliiflora, AKA Mulan magnolia, tulip magnolia, lily magnolia, and, most commonly, Japanese magnolia, because the first plants in English-speaking countries came from cultivated Japanese origins. Actually, the plant is a popular hybrid saucer magnolia from China.
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