Canopy Tour: Magnolias are blooming in Brookhaven

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — White flowers bloom out against a backdrop of green leaves in downtown Brookhaven as a grove of Magnolia trees bloom over Railroad Park. Mississippi is the Magnolia State and it is easy to see why. 

Mississippi is home to five different magnolia trees, the Cucumber, Bigleaf, Southern, Sweetbay and Umbrella Magnolias. According to the Mississippi Forestry Commission, Umbrella Magnolias are most common in Lafayette, Hinds and Jackson counties but known to occur in other counties, they have no timber value. 

Sweetbay Magnolias have little economic value according to the MFC tree identification app but are a favorite food of deer and cattle. Leaves and twigs can be browsed by deer year round and contain as much as 10 percent crude protein. Squirrels, white-foodted mice, quail, turkeys and songbirds eat the seeds. It is found most commonly in the southeastern region of Mississippi but can be found in Tippah, Tishomingo, Lee, Itawamba, Monroe and Lafayette Counties. 

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Southern Magnolias are found in the southern half of Mississippi and can be found in Marshall, Lafayette and Washington Counties. Squirrels, possums, quail and turkeys eat the seeds of Southern Magnolias according to the MFC tree identification app. Timber values of Southern Magnolias are much higher than Sweetbay or Umbrella Magnolias. They are cut in limited quantities for timber, furniture, paneling, veneer and cabinet work. 

Cucumber Magnolias are named for their greenish yellow flowers and are scattered across the state. Seeds are eaten by birds and rodents while young fruit, twigs, leaves and buds are browsed by deer. Yellow Poplar and Cucumber Magnolias share a similar wood and are often marketed together for the production of pallets, crates, furniture, plywood, and special procuts. Bigleaf Magnolias are named for their leaves ranging from 20 to 30 inches in length and 9 to 10 inches in width. They can be found in the southern half of Mississippii and are confined to Webster, Monroe, Winston and Kemper Counties in the northern half.