Native to Japan, Magnolia salicifolia, also known as Anise Magnolia or Willow-Leafed Magnolia, is a medium-sized deciduous tree with scented, white flowers in early spring. Each blossom, 3-6 in. across (8-15 cm), counts 6 spreading tepals which sometimes display a tinge of pink at their base, adding to the beauty of the bloom.
Rich of a lemony or anise fragrance, the blooms appear on naked branches before the leaves unfurl. The leaves and smooth gray bark are equally fragrant when scratched. Emerging coppery-red, the foliage of narrow, oval, willow-like leaves has whitened undersides and turns a nice golden-yellow in fall before shedding to the ground.
Magnolia salicifolia is the parent of many hybrid Magnolias, including the famous Magnolia x kewensis 'Wada's Memory'. It makes a splendid spring flowering specimen tree or large shrub but should be sheltered from strong winds and late frosts, where possible.