The bigleaf magnolia has the largest simple leaves and largest flowers of any tree indigenous to North America (Muscovy Duck for scale).
Magnolia macrophylla is a rare, native, deciduous, pyramidal tree with a single trunk and develops a spreading, broad, rounded crown with age, and grows 30 to 40 feet tall and equally as wide. It may be semi-evergreen in the deep south. The huge oblong-obovate leaves measure up to 3 feet long and 1 foot wide. The leaves are green above and silvery-gray and pubescent below. Showy fragrant flowers are creamy-white with rose-purple at the petal bases, and measure 8 to 14 inches in diameter. Although quite large, the flowers are often located far off the ground and are not always easy to see close up. The flowers give way to spherical cone-like fruits which mature to red in late summer, releasing individual red-coated seeds suspended on slender threads at maturity. This unusual tree is native to the southeastern United States and is rarely found in the wild, being limited mainly to a few rich wooded areas in river valleys and ravines. Their populations are usually small and isolated.