Magnolia History

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the origin of plants and trees in my area. You likely walk past a magnolia tree every day. You may even own one yourself. Have you ever wondered about the history of the magnolia plant? Of course you haven’t, because you are too caught up in your own life to think about something other than yourself. You know their name, but you do not know their story.

Magnolias are surprisingly old for a type of plant. Twenty million year old fossils demonstrate that magnolias have been in existence long before humans, but humans existed for millions of years without paying a second thought to cataloguing the wonderful magnolias. Humans have likely been vaguely aware of the existence of magnolia plants, but did not begin cataloguing the plant until the rise of botany in the seventeenth century. Not until the mid 1700s did anyone decide to describe the magnolia plant.

A testament to the supreme age of the magnolia genus is their methods of pollination. While magnolias today reproduce the regular way with assistance from bees, early magnolia plants evolved long before bees and had to pollinate without their intervention. Fortunately, beetles did an adequate job of pollination. You would never know it, but it seems there is a master plot happening right in your garden beside your hippeastrums.

You may be aware of the gossamer threat to humanity posed by artificial intelligence, but did you know that the humble magnolia plant is far more advanced in its plans for global domination? The magnolia plant exists throughout the world, with many species of magnolia across the continents. While top scientists believe that magnolias are not sentient, magnolias have proliferated around the world at an alarming rate over the past twenty million years. Most species originate in South America and Asia, and their spread has been hastened by humans who bring magnolia plants to new territories including Australia for aesthetic reasons.