Characteristics of Port Wine Magnolia Trees (Magnolia figo var. crassipes) in the Wild

Magnolia figo var. crassipes
Port Wine Magnolia or Banana Shrub (Magnolia figo var. crassipes) is a famous ornamental tree that reaches 3-4 meters in height. In each area, this tree has its name, it is also often referred to as Cempaka Merah or Kantil Merah in Indonesia.

Magnolia figo was originally described by Portuguese missionary and naturalist João de Loureiro as Liriodendron figo, then reclassified as Michelia figo by German botanist, Curt Polycarp Joachim Sprengel. In 2006, a cladistic analysis of the genus Michelia found they were located within the genus Magnolia, and that led to its current name Magnolia figo.

The Port Wine Magnolia is cultivated as an ornamental in gardens because of its attractive flowers, creamy white (red or purplish from the M. figo var. Crassipes variety), and a very fragrant aroma similar to isoamyl alcohol.

In Indonesia Magnolia figo var. crassipes or Magnolia with red flowers has a high selling value because it is rare and closely related to the local people’s belief in mysticism.


Characteristics of Port Wine Magnolia Leaf

Magnolia figo var. crassipes Leaf
Source:润铖 黄

The leaves are leathery, slightly thick, stiff, shiny dark green, up to 10 cm long.


Characteristics of Port Wine Magnolia Flower

Magnolia figo var. crassipes Flower
Source: Hunt

The flowers are white or cream, but the varieties are M. figo var. crassipes have bright red or purplish flowers. Whatever the color of the flower, it was an equally pleasant scent.


Characteristics of Port Wine Magnolia Fruit

Magnolia figo var. crassipes Fruit

Red fruit measuring 2-3.5 cm and appears at the tip of the branch.


Characteristics of Port Wine Magnolia Tree

Magnolia figo var. crassipes Tree

This tree is widely planted in Shanghai, China, as a yard or garden fence. The tree can grow up to 4 meters tall and always has green leaves.

Port Wine Magnolia grows best in acidic and alkaline soils. It is drought tolerant, hot all day long, and thrives in USDA Zones 8-10.


To reproduce this tree, the method commonly used by planters is by grafting or grafting. It cannot be propagated from cuttings and takes a long time to flower if planted from seed.


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