in getting to know this beautiful queen, I learned a few things that I thought I'd share. for starters, magnolias are an ancient genus of over 200 flowering plant species, with fossilized specimens dating from 20 to 90 million years old! as they evolved before bees, they are pollinated by beetles, and by self-pollination. the flowers of certain species are considered edible, with the flowers, buds, and leaves all being used in different ways (please Do Not eat anything without having properly identified it, and confirming with several sources on methods of preparation and usage). the bark and flower buds of certain species are also used medicinally (again, Do Not attempt to treat yourself with anything without proper research and supervision). they are used as food plants for the larvae of several butterfly and moth species. the Yulan magnolia is the official flower of Shanghai; the M. grandiflora is the official state flower of both Mississippi (where it is also the state tree) and Louisiana; and the magnolia sieboldii is the official national flower of North Korea, and the official flower of Gangnam, South Korea.
on the more esoteric side, the bark of the magnolia is used for both physical and spiritual healing, and is said to soothe anxiety and depression. in fact, it seems that the bioactive compounds honokiol and magnolol are good for a slew of medical issues - everything from weight loss, to several forms of cancer, asthma, allergies, and skin issues, to name just a few. also said to increase feelings of love and loyalty; reduce the power of addictions and obsessions, especially smoking; promotes psychic development; aids meditation and spiritual opening; promotes harmony, peace, and tranquility; helps learning from past experiences; clarifies true identity; eases restlessness and confusion; maintains balance during difficult changes, and promotes a sense of freedom and relaxation. magnolia is also one of the main ingredients in true Nag Champa incense (michelia champaca is golden or red magnolia). whew - she's sure got a lot on her plate!
astrologically, they're associated with the sign of Cancer, the Moon, the 4th house (which represents 'home'), pearls, and the crown chakra. the magnolia is also a symbol of nobility, femininity, youth, and fidelity; family, longevity, legacy, faithfulness, and is good for use in prosperity, stability, and fertility spells. the seed pods are incredibly phallic, the berries a menstrual red, and they have these white filament tails that makes them look like sperm. they are 'bisexual' in that they pollinate themselves - as such, there are sexual, creative, and vital associations, as well. magnolias are associated with the Goddess/planet Venus, and the trees are excellent for both shade, and climbing. they can have some darker aspects, given their history of popularity in the American South, around plantations, which is unfortunate, but that's not the tree's fault. there's so much information out there on magnolias and their meanings and uses, I could go on for a rather long time, but I think I've done enough, here. I've made my point that this is an amazing and glorious tree, to which, we should all bow down in awe and revere! all hail the mighty and magnificent magnolia! amen ~