The magnificent Magnolias belong to an ancient genius of more than 200 plant species. Deciduous flowering shrubs and trees, Magnolias are beloved for their abundant and fragrant blossoms. Magnolia trees begin to flower even before the unfurling of their leaves.
The flowers have the shape of a goblet, funnel, bell, saucer or a star, and they open in layers. The blooms can reach a diameter of 8-30 cm. The scent if often described as creamy-sweet, fruity and even Champagne-like. Scientists have recently proved that the scent of Magnolia activates the pheromone receptor and stimulates areas of the brain responsible for human emotions.
Fossils of some Magnolia species date back ~100 million years ago. This places them among the most ancient flowering plant families. Likely the most primitive among all flowering plants, Magnolias have developed tough tepals in the place of petals, and a hardy carpel. This sturdiness protects them against damage inflicted by beetles, their hard-winged and gnawing pollinators.
The human fascination with this opulent and fragrant flower is expressed through wide symbolism and numerous meanings associated with Magnolia. The opulent Magnolia is certainly among the flowers with rich folklore, legends and magical powers ascribed to them.
Magnolia flower meaning in dreams
Even though people rarely dream of Magnolias, seeing one in your dream is mostly an auspicious sign. Dreaming of magnolias often signifies beauty and eternity. Such a dream may also indicate your aspirations towards achieving grace, sophistication and perfection in your life. Dreaming of a large Magnolia tree in full bloom may announce the beginning of a love affair with a beautiful person, or arrival of good news. Especially in Eastern cultures, dreams of Magnolia trees are taken as a reminder to exercise mental purity in all daily activities.
To dream of a Magnolia tree in flames is a sign of suppressing unpleasant memories from your childhood. To chop down a Magnolia tree is a warning about the consequences of your negative actions. To dream of playing under the tree means attachment to childhood and refusal to grow. Spiritually inclined persons who dream of Magnolia flowers are making meaningful progress in their meditation and inner work.
To artists, seeing Magnolia flowers in a dream announces great fame and recognition of their talent. A dream of fading or dry Magnolias is an expression of one’s sadness, insecurity and inability to cope with a difficult situation. In contrast, sowing Magnolias in a dream indicates one’s inner strength.
In Wicca tradition, dreaming of a Magnolia flower means tapping into the latent powers within you, or an awakening of your ‘sleeping giant’.
Magnolia flower meaning by color
White Magnolia represents the Moon, purity, modesty, innocence and perfection. White Magnolias are ritually offered to Selene and Artemis, the lunar goddesses. It is also a symbol of perseverance, hope and faith. It also signifies inner peace.
Pink Magnolia is a symbol of feminine power and affection. It is associated with the Greek Aphrodite and the Roman Venus, goddesses of love, fertility and beauty. It also symbolizes youth, innocence, shyness and sensitivity.
Purple Magnolia is linked to dignity, nobility, courage and power. It is often used as a spiritual and religious symbol. It is an emblem of mystery and extravagance. People also believe that you can use purple Magnolias to manifest luck and health in your life.
Red Magnolia is a flower of romance and passionate love.
Yellow Magnolia is related to the Sun, and consequently with the emanation and sharing of happiness, joy and love. Yellow Magnolias are offered to the solar goddesses Medusa and Sunna. Since yellow is the color of gold, yellow magnolias are also linked to luck and prosperity. Gifting a yellow magnolia is an expression of care, friendship and amiability.
Magnolia flower meaning in numerology
Nine is the number corresponding to Magnolia. The numerological significance of the number nine is completion of a full cycle, or fulfillment. Magnolia flowers symbolize eternity through the cyclical spirit of Nature.
Legends of Magnolia flower
A beautiful Japanese legend tells of a poor girl who made paper flowers for living. One day, a friendly parrot told the girl that she can bring life to her paper flowers using her blood. Thanks to this, the girl started selling beautiful flowers and earned a lot. Her luck was short-lived, as she soon met a handsome boy who was poor and greedy. He demanded her to produce more flowers and get rich. One day, as she shared her last drop of blood, she died. This last drop of blood turned into a beautiful Magnolia flower.
According to another Japanese legend, one should never sleep under a blooming Magnolia tree. Its strong scent is believed to daze or kill those who over-indulge in it.
A legend from China speaks of Hua Mulan, a heroine who, disguised as a man, replaces her father and serves in the army against nomad invaders. In Chinese, Mulan’s given name means Magnolia.
One variety of this flower, Siebold’s Magnolia, is also known as ‘the heavenly maid flower’ in China. A legend says that fairies scatter these flowers from the Heaven.
It is said that in ancient China, no-one but the Emperor had the right to look at the lavish bloom of a Magnolia tree. On occasions, the Emperor presented a Magnolia flower to someone as a sign of great honor and respect.
Chinese also believe that the first Magnolia tree grew at the tomb of Master Confucius.
One of the most beautiful Chinese legends speaks of a hundred beautiful village women killed by an aggressive horde of warriors. Before she died, the last girl prayed to the Earth. As a result, the bodies of the hundred girls turned into pink-flowered Magnolia trees which could not be destroyed. Each cut or fallen brunch tree immediately turned into a new Magnolia tree.
Magnolia flower plant magic
It is believed that a magic wand made of the wood of Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia x soulangeana) can enhance the magical powers of a sorcerer. When placed under the bed, a twig of this Magnolia variety ensures fidelity.
Magnolia flowers are often associated with memory, including suppressed childhood memories and memories of our past lives. Ritualistic use of Magnolias can help us access them and properly integrate them into the present.
Hanging magnolia seedpods on every door and window inside your house works as a quick magic spell to attract luck.
To support transition periods and uncomfortable changes in one’s life, you may consider gifting Magnolia flowers. Blooming Magnolias in spring symbolize renewal, new beginnings and the universal cosmic cycles.
According to beliefs popular across Southeast Asia, households that plant a Magnolia tree in the backyard invite gradual accumulation of wealth. Those who plant the tree in the front of the house can expect a happy and pleasurable life.
According to the principles of Feng Shui, Magnolias are Yin, feminine. Consequently, Magnolia trees attract calmness, rest and harmony into the home.
During the sixteenth century, the Spanish conquistadors used Magnolia medicinally, as there was a belief that it can strengthen the stomach and the body.
Significance of Magnolia flower across cultures
In Japan, the Magnolia flower is an expression of love and appreciation of life. It is also believed to connect us with the cosmos. Traditionally, brides wore Magnolia bouquets on their wedding day. Magnolia petals were also used as a lucky charm that secures love and passion between spouses.
Magnolia trees can live up to a hundred years. This longevity and the fact that they have blossomed for millions of years makes them a universal symbol of endurance, stability and long life.
In Chinese art, the motif of a Magnolia flower signifies feminine grace, purity, sweetness and beauty. It is also a symbol of romantic commitment and loyalty.
In the past, planting Magnolia trees was very popular in Georgia. It was believed that the tree brings luck and success in all financial matters.
In Victorian times, lovers secretly exchanged Magnolia flowers, in defiance of forbidden love. The flower became a symbol of never-ending love and determination.
In many cultures it is common to gift Magnolia flowers on the occasion of a birth of a child. In this context, they symbolize the regenerative powers of Nature, as well as the Life Force.
‘You are worthy of a beautiful magnolia’ is an old saying that has now become a cliché. However, this saying confirms that one of the strongest meanings attributed to the Magnolia flower is that of feminine beauty.
The Magnolia flower as a city symbol
- Yulan Magnolia is the official flower of Shanghai.
- Magnolia grandiflora is the official state flower of Mississippi (nicknamed ‘Magnolia State’) and Louisiana. The City of Houston in Texas is often called ‘Magnolia City’.
- Siebold’s Magnolia (Magnolia sieboldii) is the official flower of North Korea. It is also the official flower of Gangnam.
Etymological meaning of Magnolia flower
The Magnolia flower was named after Pierre Magnol, a French botanist and physician. There is an obvious linguistic link to the Latin word magna, meaning great. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the girl’s name Magnolia was one of the most popular names. This name is having its comeback, becoming one of the more popular names in recent year.