Sweetbay Magnolia Magnolia virginiana
Sweetbay magnolias are a host tree for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Palamedes Swallowtail, Sweetbay Silkmoth and Spicebush Swallowtail. In late spring, they bear creamy white flowers with a sweet scent that merit savoring. The flowers appear sporadically over a few weeks, prolonging the fragrance.
They thrive in moist to wet soil, unlike many other magnolias. Sweetbay tolerates shade but prefers sun to part sun. This multi-stemmed, vase shaped small tree can reach 20 feet or a bit more. The dark, glossy leaves have a silvery underside. In mild winters they leaves may remain on the tree but it is not reliably evergreen and will push fresh new leaves each spring.