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collage of Sweetbay Magnolia and Southern Magnolia

Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) vs. Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Updated January 16th, 2020

Southern magnolia and sweetbay are sometimes confused due to similiarities in foliage and flowers, but are easily distinguished at any time of year by foliage, flowers, or fruit. Although similar, southern magnolia has thicker, tougher foliage that is darker green above; sweetbay leaves are pale underneath.

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