Evergreen tree, 6–8 m. Branchlets slender, glabrous. Leaves thin and leathery, 8–16 × 2.5–4 cm, oblanceolate to obovate-elliptic, dark green and glabrous above, greyish-green and glabrous or with sparse appressed brown hairs and longer pale ones at the margin and on midrib below, 9–11 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, apex acuminate, base cuneate; petiole 1–1.2 cm, slightly grooved above, stipular scar about ⅓ its length. Flowers terminal, pinkish, fragrant; tepals nine, concave, obovate to broadly obovate, 2.6–4.5 × 1.5–2.5 cm, outer three tepals the largest; stamens numerous; gynoecium sessile with 45–55 carpels, ferruginous-pubescent. Fruits reddish, 5–6 cm long, ovoid-ellipsoid. Flowering May to June, fruiting September to October (China). (Chen & Nooteboom 1993; Liu et al. 2004; Xia, Liu & Nooteboom 2008).
Distribution China Guangxi, SE Sichuan, NE Yunnan Vietnam N
Habitat Evergreen broad-leaved forests; 1300–2000 m.
USDA Hardiness Zone 8-9
RHS Hardiness Rating H4
Conservation status Data deficient (DD)
A recently introduced member of Section Manglietia, still rather experimental in cultivation, M. duclouxii is unusual among evergreen Asiatic magnolias in forming only a small tree. Along with the pink flowers, this makes it an interesting garden prospect.
Magnolia duclouxii is distinguished among manglietias by the combination of slender branchlets, small, thin leaves, and pubescent gynoecium (Chen & Nooteboom 1993). The specific epithet commemorates the French missionary-botanist François Ducloux, who collected the type specimen in Yunnan.
It is in cultivation in Europe, still as relatively young plants, at least some specimens originating as seed from Kunming Botanical Garden, and it is commercially available in a small way. A specimen planted at Tregrehan, Cornwall in 1998 had reached 12 m × 65 cm by 2014 (The Tree Register 2021). Mike Robinson (in Grimshaw & Bayton 2009) noted the upright habit of his two young trees, and their ‘superb shining maroon young growth’. European specimens are beginning to bloom. A Facebook post from Belgium in June 2019 shows beautiful soft pink tepals (Botanic-Treasures 2019). However, a plant under this name at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall had yellowish tepals in June 2019 (Williams 2021).