The magnolia is a beautiful flower with a rich history of symbolic meanings. Native to North and South America as well as the Himalayas and East Asia, magnolia trees have come to be known as iconic trees with beautiful blossoms in the southeastern United States. Magnolia flowers are beloved for their large and fragrant white, yellow, pink, red, or purple blossoms. In this post, we’ll explore magnolia meaning and symbolism, from the flower to the tree.
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“I want to be yours as a magnolia belongs to spring.”
– Alexandra Vasiliu
What does the magnolia symbolize?
1. Magnolia Flower Meaning: Beauty
Magnolia blossoms are large, with multiple petals. Thus, these beautiful trees and their fragrant flowers have come to be symbols of beauty. Yet beyond youthful beauty, the magnolia’s beauty is like a fine wine in that it symbolizes things that get better with age. Magnolias have long-lasting blooms that can withstand changes in climate. So, these beautiful flowers are like people who go through challenges in life yet still manage to shine
Paleontologists have gained immeasurable knowledge about prehistoric life by studying fossils. However, understanding prehistoric plants is more challenging because plant matter is so biodegradable and rarely preserved in fossils.
However, botanists are not using innovative methods to understand more about prehistoric plants. One recent discovery is that the oldest known flowering plant originated some 140 million years ago and it likely resembled a magnolia flower1 Thus, magnolia meaning has also come to symbolize originality and primordial wisdom.
3. Endurance and Fortitude
Magnolia flowers grow on sturdy trees and their blossoms are known for their hardiness. In addition, they are adaptable and can grow in a variety of climates. Thus, the magnolia is also a symbol of perseverance, endurance, and fortitude. In fact, the popular movie Steel Magnolias was named for this theme, as the film is about beautiful, strong, and resilient southern women.
In China, the magnolia share symbolism with duck meaning as both represent devotion and commitment. Thus, magnolia flowers and trees are used often in the Chinese practice of feng shui. They represent long-term devotion and marital happiness, as well as wealth, which we’ll get to below.
Magnolia trees can live for over a century. This, coupled with the idea that magnolia blossoms resemble the world’s first flowers makes them a symbol of longevity. Thus, a magnolia tree is a positive symbol for long-lasting relationships or business and creative endeavors, as well as health and vitality.
Magnolia flower meaning also include wealth. Indeed, according to the art of feng shui, if you plant a magnolia tree in the front yard it can bring financial satisfaction. And planting one in the back yard invites long-terms wealth.2
In Victorian England, magnolia flower meaning is associated with nobility as well as pride. The Victorians out special emphasis on flower meanings, imbuing them with secret messages and symbolism. (You can read more about this in my post on columbine flower meaning.)
Magnolia Flower Color Meanings
Magnolia flowers come in a few different shades, and each one has additional special meanings. Here are some magnolia flower color meanings:
8. White Magnolia Flower Meaning
9. Ivory or Cream Magnolia Symbolism
Similar to white magnolia flower meaning, ivory or cream magnolias symbolize purity and innocence. In addition, they also represent elegance and the kind of wisdom that comes with old age.
10. Yellow Magnolia Meaning
Like yellow butterfly meaning, magnolias that are yellow in hue symbolize happiness, joy, and good luck. In addition, because of their light gold color, they represent wealth and prosperity.
11. Pink Magnolia Flower Meaning
Pink magnolia flowers symbolize grace and femininity. In addition, they symbolize love, including platonic love and new romantic love.
12. Red Magnolia Flower
Red magnolias symbolize the kind of romantic love that withstands the test of time. A red magnolia shrub or tree embodies the idea of having a long-term commitment with your romantic partner.
13. Purple Magnolia Symbolism
Purple magnolias represent admiration, royalty, and wealth. In addition, they symbolize peace, as the color purple blends the cool tones of blue with the warm tones of red.
Magnolia Spiritual Meanings
In addition to its general meanings, magnolia flowers and the magnolia tree also have spiritual meanings. Here are a couple:
14. Emotional Growth
As a symbol of perseverance, magnolia flower meaning embodies the kind of spiritual growth that comes from emotional growth. We all face challenges in life. Yet it is our choice to react to them with bitterness or to face them head-on and “bloom” despite what happens to us. When we face our challenges with grace and fortitude, we grow, not just on an emotional level, but a spiritual one as well.
15. Spiritual Wisdom
The magnolia tree withstands the test of time and continues to bloom and bloom. In this way, magnolia flower meaning also represents spiritual wisdom. It means getting to a place in life where you can look back and see the many spiritual lessons you have undergone and have a sense of pride about all you have learned.
Magnolia Flower Uses and Benefits
In 1703, the French botanist Charles Plumier named the magnolia tree, which he discovered on the Caribbean island of Martinique, after another French botanist named Pierre Magnol.3
Yet even before his discovery, people around the world had been using magnolia trees, flowers, and shrubs for centuries. Not only do they make beautiful ornamental plants, they are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lung and digestion ailments.
Furthermore, holistic medicine practitioners use them to treat a range of issues, including weight loss, anxiety, depression, and headaches.4 Finally, in Japan, magnolia flower petals are used to flavor miso soup.
Other Magnolia Facts
Here are some other interesting facts about magnolia flowers:
- The magnolia is the state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi.
- It is the national flower of North Korea.
- Magnolia flowers are older than bees, so beetles were their first pollinators.5
- Most magnolia flower species are edible.
Summary: Beauty that Withstands the Test of Time
In summary, the magnolia tree and its blossoms possess the kind of beauty that goes far beyond skin deep. Clearly this a tree of substance! Thus, it’s not surprising that it has inspired artists, writers, and filmmakers with its impressive meanings and symbolism.
Frequently Asked Questions
This term is used to describe a southern woman who is strong and resilient. It is believed to be derived from the magnolia tree, which is known for its beauty and resilience.
A magnolia tattoo can symbolize a variety of qualities, including timeless beauty, endurance, perseverance, fortitude, prosperity, and originality.