Plant Details

Magnolia virginiana var. virginiana

Northern Sweet Bay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Swampbay, Swamp Magnolia, Sweet Magnolia

Scientific Name:

Magnolia virginiana var. virginiana

Common Name:

Northern Sweet Bay, Sweetbay Magnolia, Swampbay, Swamp Magnolia, Sweet Magnolia

Plant Family

Magnoliaceae (Magnolia Family)


NC Native



Bloom Color(s):


Size in Feet:


Bloom Time:

April - May - June - July

Bloom Area:

Coast, Piedmont

Habitat Description:

Pocosins, bay forests, and swamps in the Coastal Plain, streamhead pocosins, swamps, and sandhill seeps in the Sandhills, bogs and peaty swamps in the Piedmont (Weakley 2015). Rare in the NC Piedmont, common in the Coastal Plain.

State Rank:

No NC Rank Listed (*)

Global Rank:

No Global Rank listed (*)

State Status:

No NC Status Listed, W6: Watch List: Regionally Rare (*)

Federal Status:

No U.S. Status Listed (*)


"This attractive, native ornamental is popular for its fragrant flowers borne over a long period, showy conelike fruit, handsome foliage of contrasting colors, and smooth bark." Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
Magnollia virginiana var. australis is not recorded in NC, but grows from SC south and west (according to Weakley 2015).


Looking like a smaller version of Magnolia grandiflora, Sweet Bay flowers are intensely fragrant.


Halyburton Park, Wilmington, May 9, 2013

Developing fruit


Jack Spruill, June, 2009, Hampstead

Trunk showing pale, smooth bark

If you press the corky bark with your fingernail, it will depress and then return to its original shape.


Paynter, Wilmington, 2011

Fruit (follicetum) with seeds


Jorge Vigueras, 2010


USDA PLANTS Database Record

Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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