Inside view of magnolia blossom.
Majestic flower! How purely beautifulOn the grounds of Waverly Plantation near Columbus, Mississippi there stands a huge magnolia tree that is at least five feet in diameter. It is original to the property and has survived tornados, wind storms, hail and all manner of natural insults. It survived almost 50 years of complete neglect during the time the plantation house was vacant and inhabited by possum and raccoon. They say this tree is probably over 200 years old. Every Spring during the first week in May, the fragrant white blooms begin to open. This happens like clockwork, folks don't have to consult a calendar to know it's May 'round these parts, just take a gander at the giant magnolia, yep, it's May alright. Never mind that March and April have been cooler or warmer than usual, the tree just KNOWS it's time to bloom...it's May.
Thou art, as rising from thy bower of green,
Those dark and glossy leaves so thick and full,
Thou standest like a high-born forest queen
Among thy maidens clustering round so fair,--
I love to watch thy sculptured form unfolding,
And look into thy depths, to image there
A fairy cavern, and while thus beholding,
And while thy breeze floats o'er thee, matchless flower,
I breathe the perfume, delicate and strong,
That comes like incense from thy petal-bower;
My fancy roams those southern woods along,
Beneath that glorious tree, where deep among
The unsunned leaves thy large while flowercups hung!
~ Christopher Pearce Cranch, "Poem to the Magnolia Grandiflora"