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'Little Gem' Southern Magnolia
Southern Magnolia 'Little Gem' is a dwarf cultivar of Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, that grows to 30 to 35 feet, with a small conical crown. The cultivar originated from seed collected in Candor, North Carolina in 1952. Like most Southern Magnolias, it has leathery leaves that are extra dark with attractive brown hairs on the underside of the leaves that give an extra richness and ornamentation to the tree. 'Little Gem' is known for its large highly fragrant white flowers that attract pollinators. The cone like seedpods contain large red seeds and are very attractive to songbirds. It is a popular ornamental and shade tree that is commanding with its rich features, and is also a good candidate for container growing. This smaller version of Southern Magnolia flowers for 3 to 4 months from late spring through summer with sporadic blooming beyond those months. It is able to be used in smaller spaces than other Southern Magnolias.