Yes, Reader: It’s Officially Magnificent Magnolia Szn in San Francisco

It’s one of the most magical times again in San Francisco: The start of Magnificient Magnolia season.

San Francisco’s home to the densest collection of public green spaces of any major city in the United States; every resident is estimated to be no more than a 10-minute walk to a nearby City park. Those of us lucky enough to call the seven-by-seven home took full advantage of SF’s naturescape amid the strict lockdowns of 2020 — a reintroduction of San Francisco’s endemic wilderness. Many are still hiking, running, and biking every day.

We’ve got redwoods; we’ve got bison; we’ve got staircases. And we, too, have “magnificent magnolias” that are just starting to bloom again at the San Francisco Botanical Garden.

“It’s been a slow, cold, and rainy start to this year’s Magnificent Magnolias season (which we’re not mad at…) but the sun has come out and the first magnolias are starting to follow suit! 🌸💗☀️,” reads an Instagram caption from the garden. “It’s still early and this pictured Magnolia campbellii just inside the Main Gate off the Great Meadow is leading the bloom as it does almost every year. The other species Magnolia campbellii that we typically see as part of the first wave of flowers is still just warming up.”

“Come check the first flowers now and stay tuned for much more to come,” continues the cpation from the San Francisco Botanical Garden, celebrating the (very beginning) of the blooming season for these prepossessing flora.

Home to the most substantial collection of tended magnolias anywhere in the country, SF Botanical Garden’s over 200 trees bud and blossom between mid-January through late-March. The over 63 species of magnolia trees — a native flora found throughout Asia and the New World — begin sporting silver buds and saucer-sized pink, white, and magenta flowers around this time of year. And among the hundreds of magnolia trees exist 49 examples produced via cultivation practices to bring out specific phenotypic qualities; take note of trees with particularly vibrant yellows and pinks, as these are likely “cultivars” — plants produced by hyperfocused cultivation.

Back in the winter of 1940, the then newly-opened San Francisco Botanical Garden housed the first Campbell’s magnolia (Magnolia campbellii) — a rare species of magnolia endemic to the Himalayas — to bloom in the United States. The sight attracted massive crowds of curious visitors and passersby ogling at the large, pink blossoms produced by the magnolia; the exact same magnolia is still rooted and living its best life in SF Botanical Garden.

You’ll catch us somewhere in the 55-acre urban oasis very soon. And we’ll likely be using the garden’s “Magnolia Map’’ to find these beauties.

Feature Image: Courtesy of San Francisco Botanical Garden

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