Members attending our March 18 via Zoom got a primer on the Magnolia Collection at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, a 55-acre living museum within Golden Gate Park that showcases more than 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. Our knowledgeable speakers were  Steve Gensler, the Garden’s Geographic Information System (GIS) Manager, and Victoria Stewart, Plant Records Manager.

We learned that there are 7,300 species of magnolias, one-third of which are located in China, and more than 300 species are considered threatened. Eric Walther, SF Botanical Garden director from 1937 to 1957, introduced magnolias, and trees located throughout the Garden are now the premier collection in the world outside of China. The blooming season is January-March.

The Garden’s oldest magnolia tree, at 99 years, is this Magnolia Campbelli.