This tree is the largest magnolia you see on the left as you face the central library from Library Lawn. There are many southern magnolias planted in this part of the main campus. This particular one is one of the older magnolias in the arboretum and is evident on aerial photos of the campus dating back many years. The history of this tree and its sister magnolia on the side of the lawn near Stevenson Center is closely tied to Wesley Hall, one of Vanderbilt's important early buildings that was destroyed by fire in 1932. To learn more about this tree and Wesley Hall, go to its history page
Southern magnolias are unmistakable with their large creamy, white flowers
and shiny evergreen leaves
that are rusty underneath. Their twigs
are encircled by the leaf scars and the fruits
are typical for magnolias.
Southern magnolias are not native to Tennessee. They occur naturally further south. They are successfully planted in middle Tennessee, but they rarely reproduce successfully from seeds here. The large evergreen leaves also make the trees susceptible to severe damage from the ice storms that occur frequently here.