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I was walking my dog along this one stretch of side walk in my neighborhood and there are a few of these trees lined up along it. They have a fuzzy seed pod (or perhaps a flower pod?) that reminds me of an artichoke, and smooth shiny leaves. Below are pictures of the pod and leaves, and the bark (which is a bit blurry, but I don't think it takes away from it too much):

pod and leaves

bark

What kind of tree is this? This is in southeast Virginia, but I think these trees were planted here, so I'm not sure if they are native to the area.

  • @JonathanLandrum 'but the leaves are a nuisance for your landscaper.' would be better phrasing. – Adonalsium Apr 9 at 20:14
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    @Adonalsium thanks for the call-out. We're all still growing. :o) – Jonathan Landrum Apr 10 at 14:51
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That's a magnolia tree.

I first saw one in Delaware in the dead of winter encased in ice after an ice storm. All the other trees had dropped their leaves, but the magnolia doesn't shed its thick leaves seasonally, it sheds them like an evergreen throughout the year. It was odd to see a green-leafed tree in the dead of winter. Trees up north shed their leaves in order to preserve water, as 90% percent of the water trees soak up evaporates into the air, so if they kept their leaves through the winter they'd die from thirst.

The magnolia seems to be able to survive with its thicker leaves by curling them up in the winter. Your first impression is that the tree is curling up its leaves in an effort to stay warm, but I believe it's actually trying to conserve water by hiding its leaves from the sun.

Mid-Atlantic Gardening has good information and pictures of the types of magnolia that grow in Virginia. It also shows other shrubs and trees in your area, in case you're interested.

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100% magnolia, I have 3 of them in my yard. Beautiful trees, have very fragrant blossoms in the spring and summer.

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