The sweetbay magnolia is a small, semi-evergreen tree with large, creamy white flowers that bloom in early summer. It grows in forested swamps and wetlands throughout most of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The sweetbay magnolia has long, oval leaves that grow 4 to 6 inches in length. The leaves are shiny, smooth and leathery on top, whitish on the bottom and have blunt tips. They may turn brown in winter. Large, creamy white flowers bloom in May to July. The sweetbay magnolia grows 20 to 30 feet tall.
Sweetbay magnolia grows in forested swamps and wetlands, as well as along stream banks. It can be planted in wet and moist areas in yards.
This tree grows throughout most of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, except West Virginia.
Bundles of dark red seeds are produced in early autumn. Animals such as squirrels and songbirds spread the seeds.