Magnolia × brooklynensis

TSO logo


Kindly sponsored by
The Roy Overland Charitable Trust



Julian Sutton (2022)

Recommended citation
Sutton, J. (2022), 'Magnolia × brooklynensis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-05-21.


Other taxa in genus


Organism arising via vegetative or asexual reproduction.


Julian Sutton (2022)

Recommended citation
Sutton, J. (2022), 'Magnolia × brooklynensis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2024-05-21.

USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

RHS Hardiness Rating H6

This is the name given to all hybrids between Magnolia acuminata and M. liliiflora, including backcrosses (Kalmbacher 1972). They are small to medium trees, varying in flower and leaf size, and in leaf texture. Flower colour varies between clones, often an interesting mixture of colours from the two parents: shades of yellow, pink, purple, green and white can be involved, while unambiguous yellows are usually backcrosses to M. acuminata (see cultivars below). Flowers emerge with or after the leaves, depending on clone. In general they have inherited much of the hardiness of M. acuminata.

The first such crosses were made by Evamaria Sperber at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Kitchawan Research Station, New York in the 1950s, in parallel with the M. acuminata / denudata crosses which gave rise to cultivars such as ‘Elizabeth’. M. × brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’ was the first named, and is the type clone (Kalmbacher 1972); other clones still tend to be compared with it. Great variation among the original seedlings was attributed to the high level of heterozygosity of the M. liliiflora parent (Koerting 2000). Breeders such as Joe McDaniel and August Kehr repeated the cross, using various forms of the variable M. acuminata. Back crosses with M. acuminata often resulted in better yellows, at the expense of flowers opening later in the season.


Flowers larger than ‘Evamaria’, similar in colour. Raised before 2013 by Ian Baldick, New Zealand; now in European nurseries.


M. × brooklynensis 'Evamaria' × unnamed M. × brooklynensis

Pyramidal, to ~10 m. Flowers large, cup shaped, yellow-green striped reddish purple, with or just ahead of the leaves. Selected by David Clulow, Surrey before 2005.

'Black Beauty'

Tepals dark purple outside, white inside. One of the original Brooklyn seedlings, introduced commercially by Fairweather Gardens, NJ around 2001; also in European nurseries.


Large shrub or small tree; leaves oval with acuminate apex, silvery-pubescent beneath. Flowers tulip shaped flowers with 6 erect tepals to 10 cm long, multicoloured, pale yellow or pinkish inside, purplish shaded green or yellow outside. Flowering early May (New York), late May or early June in S England. Growth rate 45–60 cm per year. One of Evamaria Sperber’s original Brooklyn seedlings, the first to flower and be named (in her honour), and the subject of a very early US Plant Patent.

'Golden Girl'

Flower light yellow with only a hint of purple in comparison with ‘Woodsman’. Semi-upright habit, flowers mid-season. August Kehr, NC, registered 1990.

'Golden Joy'

M. × brooklynensis 'Yellow Bird' × (M. × brooklynensis)

Flowers larger, deeper yellow than ‘Yellow Bird’. Raised by Ian Baldick, New Zealand before 2011; also in European nurseries.

'Hattie Carthan'

M. × brooklynensis 'Eva Maria' × (unnamed M. × brooklynensis seedling)

Large pyramidal shrub or small tree; tepals to 12 × 8 cm, predominantly greenish yellow, striped purple from a purple base; flowering mid-May (S England). A Brooklyn backcross made by Doris Stone in 1965, named 1984: Hattie Carthan ran a neighbourhood restoration and tree planting organisation in Brooklyn (Koerting 2000).

'Ultimate Yellow'

(M. × brooklynensis) × M. acuminata

Small to medium-sized tree; tepals 6, yellow with a hint of green; flowers opening before the leaves are half expanded, cup-shaped to 15 cm across. A seedling from a Joe McDaniel backcross, selected by Harry Heineman, Massachusetts 1991.


M. acuminata 'Klassen' × M. liliiflora 'O'Neill'

Tepals green and purplish pink outside, inside creamy white veined pink, larger than in ‘Evamaria’. Raised by Joe McDaniel, IL, a recreation of the original Brooklyn cross using a larger flowered acuminata and more richly coloured liliiflora parents; first flowered 1972. Starred as worthwhile by Philippe de Spoelberch, Belgium (pers. comm. 2021).

'Yellow Bird'

(M. × brooklynensis 'Evamaria') × M. acuminata var. subcordata

Small to medium pyramidal tree. Tepals 6, yellow, initially with a slight green tinge outside, 7.5–10 cm long; flowers erect, first showing colour just as the leaves start to emerge (late April in S England). In New York it oftens flowers on through the summer (Koerting 2000). A Brooklyn backcross made by Doris Stone in 1967, registered 1981. Highly rated by Philippe de Spoelberch (pers. comm. 2021).