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Any of about 225 species of trees and shrubs in the genus Magnolia, native to North and Central America, the Himalayas, and East Asia. They are valued for their fragrant flowers and handsome leaves. Magnolia is one of two genera in the family Magnoliaceae, which contains 227 species. Magnolias are among the most primitive of flowering plants; their primitive features include long floral axes, spiral arrangement of flower parts, and simple water-conducting cells.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on magnolia, visit Britannica.com.