The Famed Yellow Magnolias Bred in Ossining N.Y.

'Elizabeth' Magnolia was bred by Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Ossining, NY.

 I love yellow-flowering magnolias. The cover of a Garden Design Magazine features one and it makes my heart skip a beat.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden introduced the yellow-flowering magnolia to the world. BBG  launched the breeding program in 1953 at its R&D facility, the Kitchawan Research Center, in Ossining, New York (the town next door to me).

They bred eight magnolias before the program shut down at Kitchawan in 1991. These BBG hybrids are still available today. These beauties flower between mid-April and mid-May.
Magnolia x ‘Elizabeth’
One of my favorites is Magnolia x ‘Elizabeth’ which was introduced in 1977. It is a cross between M. acuminata and M. denudata.
 Dr. Evamaria Sperber, who helped start BBG’s breeding program bred this tree. It is valued because it flowers before the leaves come out which makes an elegant display on bare branches. The creamy-yellow flowers bloom later than other magnolias which helps it avoid damage from frost and cold snaps. The  flowers bloom about a week after the saucer magnolias and two or three weeks after the star magnolias.

The hybrid’s name honors Elizabeth Van Brunt, a  benefactor of Brooklyn Botanic Garden who donated the Kitchawan site for its research facility.
The Royal Horticultural Society named it as a plant of Garden Merit. For more info on this hardy tree (Zone 4) go here:
Magnolia x Brooklynensis 'Yellow Bird' 

Another stand out is Magnolia x Brooklynensis 'Yellow Bird' - was introduced in 1981 and is a cross between M. acuminata and M. liliiflora. It is considered one of the best of the yellow-flowered magnolias and, flowering in late April or early May, generally misses the frosts.


  1. I do not have any magnolias, but neighbors do. Our mild winter has led to some very lovely displays this spring. So pretty.
    Denise at My Life in Retirement Steen Castle, Antwerp

  2. The magnolias can light up awhole area when they are strutting their stuff!


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