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Some Threatened Magnolias

Magnolias - Bloom and Doom?

Over half the world’s magnolia species are close to extinction in the wild, says new report

Some Examples of Magnolia Threatened with Extinction

Magnolia coriacea Critically Endangered
The species, also commonly known as Michelia coriacea is known only from Xichou and Malipo Counties in the south-east of Yunnan. It occurs as scattered individuals in evergreen woods on limestone mountain slopes at 1200-1450 m. Global Trees Campaign field surveys in December 2005 estimated that there are about 300-500 individuals remaining, mainly outside nature reserves. In Malipo County, big trees remain because local people protect them as symbols of good luck. Raising awareness about this species in local communities and government authorities is vital. Studies on reproductive biology and the genetic and ecological factors causing poor fruiting and low natural regeneration are also urgently needed.

Magnolia dealbata Endangered
Mexico (Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Veracruz)
Thought to be the first Magnolia known to western botanists from a Spanish scientific expedition in 1570, now about four or five relict populations exist in areas of cloud forest between 600 and 1600m. The largest consists of between 80 and 100 individuals in disturbed cloud forest at Ixhuacan de los Reyes, Veracruz. Numbers are very small in Oaxaca and Hidalgo. The reasons for declines have largely been habitat destruction, timber production and poor regeneration. The species is represented in ex situ collections, including at the Jardín Botánico Francisco Javier Clavijero.

Magnolia pallescens Endangered
Dominican Republic
A medium sized tree native to forests at about 1560–2070 m in western Dominican Republic. Between 1960 and 1980 populations diminished rapidly in some areas as a result of indiscriminate felling for cabinet work. The Ebano Verde Scientific Reserve, with an area of 23 km² was created in 1989 to protect this species.

Magnolia phanerophlebia Critically Endangered
China (S.E. Yunnan)
The species is only known from Maguan in the south-east of Yunnan province. It was seen at two sites during Global Trees Campaign field surveys in December 2005 and it is estimated that the total wild population is less than 200 individuals. The biggest threat to the species is a decrease in habitat, with many suitable areas now replaced by banana plantation. Local awareness-raising is vital for this species, as well as research into nursery techniques for its cultivation.

Magnolia sinica Critically Endangered
China (S.E. Yunnan)
A species known from a single population that consists of less than ten mature individuals on forested slopes between 1300 m and 1550 m in south-east Yunnan. Global Trees Campaign field surveys in December 2005 confirmed this low number of individuals. No effective protective measures are in place for the species and the area is open to cutting and clearance. However, there are a number of saplings in various nurseries and there are plans to use these to supplement the wild population.

Magnolia wilsoniiMagnolia wilsonii Endangered
China (Sichuan, N. Yunnan, Guizhou)
A shrub with white flowers which is in cultivation in the UK. In the wild there are scattered populations within the range of western Sichuan, northern Yunnan and western Guizhou in montane forest and thicket between 2000 m and 3300 m. The forest within the range has been extensively cleared and the bark of the tree is also exploited for medicinal extracts (as a substitute for M. officinalis).

Magnolia wolfii Critically Endangered
Colombia (Risaralda)
The species is recorded only from one locality in Risaralda. Based on a site visit carried out in August 2006 it appears that only three full grown trees and two saplings remain in a 2 ha remnant of forest surrounded by coffee plantations. Flowers and fruits are produced but no seedlings are recorded. The life history and reproduction capacity of this species is being investigated with seed germination studied under natural and greenhouse conditions to facilitate future enhancement planting of seedlings in its natural habitat.

Red List of the Magnoliaceae

The Red List of the Magnoliaceae, published jointly by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and Fauna & Flora International (FFI), through the Global Trees Campaign (GTC), identifies 131 wild magnolias as being in danger of extinction, from a global total of 245 species.


Conserving Threatened Magnolia Species



Find Out More

Fauna and Flora International
FFI is a pioneer in sustainable conservation that provides solutions that simultaneously help wildlife, humans and the environment. FFI acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, are based on sound science and take account of human needs.

World Checklist of Magnoliaceae
Covering 7 genera, 223 species, this volume contains the first full list of the Magnolias (128 species). With additional information on life forms and distribution, and bibliography of the most relevant taxonomic literature, this is an essential reference for biologists, growers and collectors.
Global Trees Campaign
Over 8000 tree species, 10% of the world’s total, are threatened with extinction. The Global Trees Campaign is addressing the problems with help from botanic gardens and BGCI.