In 1935, the Director of Forestry started a movement by which to select a State Tree for Mississippi, to be selected by nomination and election by the school children of the State. Four nominations were made--the magnolia, oak, pine and dogwood. The magnolia received by far the largest majority. On April 1, 1938, the Mississippi Legislature officially designated the magnolia as Mississippi State Tree. Although no specific species of magnolia was designated as the state tree of Mississippi, most references recognize the Southern Magnolia, (Magnolia grandiflora,) as the state tree.
The large, lustrous, evergreen foliage makes the Southern Magnolia a desirable ornamental plant. Its flowers are produced more abundantly in southern areas than in northern areas.
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), also called evergreen magnolia, bull-bay, big-laurel, or large-flower magnolia, has large fragrant white flowers and evergreen leaves that make it one of the most splendid of forest trees and a very popular ornamental that has been planted around the world. This moderately fast-growing medium-sized tree grows best on rich, moist, well-drained soils of the bottoms and low uplands of the Coastal Plains of Southeastern United States. It grows with other hardwoods and is marketed as magnolia lumber along with other magnolia species to make furniture, pallets, and veneer. Wildlife eat the seeds, and florists prize the leathery foliage.
Magnolia grandiflora, commonly known as the southern magnolia or bull bay, is a tree of the family Magnoliaceae native to the southeastern United States, from Virginia south to central Florida, and west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. Reaching 27.5 m (90 ft) in height, it is a large striking evergreen tree with large dark green leaves up to 20 cm (8 in) long and 12 cm (4.5 in) wide and large white fragrant flowers up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter. Widely cultivated around the world, over a hundred cultivars have been bred and marketed commercially. The timber is hard and heavy, and has been used commercially to make furniture, pallets, and veneer.
The law designating the magnolia or evergreen magnolia as the official Mississippi state tree is found in the Mississippi Code, Title 3, Chapter 3. Section 9
Title 3 - STATE SOVEREIGNTY, JURISDICTION AND HOLIDAYS
Chapter 3 - STATE BOUNDARIES, HOLIDAYS, AND STATE EMBLEMS
§ 3-3-9 - State tree
Universal Citation: MS Code § 3-3-9 (2013)
The magnolia or evergreen magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora L.) is herewith designated as the state tree of Mississippi.
SOURCES: Codes, 1942, Sec. 6192; Laws, 1938, ch. 366.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Magnolia or Evergreen Magnolia
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Magnoliaceae - Magnolia family
Genus: Magnolia L. - magnolia
Species: Magnolia grandiflora L. - southern magnolia