These magnolias are growing next to the house in Missouri and are blooming right now. This particular varietal, commonly known as the Sweetbay Magnolia, originated in the southeastern United States. I’m so glad it also feels at home here in the Midwest! The white flowers are incredibly fragrant, a strong vanilla scent. As I made a quick sketch in my diary I noticed I wasn’t the only one enjoying the scent: a Monarch butterfly alighted on a flower.

The show isn’t over when the flower is spent, then the seed pots take over. One by one they will burst out of their covers and reveal thin bright red coats. The seeds themselves are actually black but because of their bright red coat the birds are very fond of them. The birds digest the red coat and leave the seeds in their droppings somewhere else. An ingenious plan!

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