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NAME: Sweet Bay Magnolia
SPECIES / FAMILY: Magnolia Virginiana / Magnoliaceae
OTHER COMMON NAME(S):
CONDITIONS: shady, sandy, wet, swampy
COMMENT: The leaves are used as a condiment in gravies etc (1). Leaves can be used to make a tea or use like a 'bay leaf' to flavor soups and stews or make a marinade.(2) In other varieties the flowers are edible if pickled.
CAUTION: The leaves or bark have been placed in cupped hands over the nose and inhaled as a mild hallucinogen.(1)
Magnolia Virginiana flowers are considered not edible. However other varieties are.
Are Magnolia Flowers Poisonous to Humans? Magnolia flowers are not poisonous to human beings. Some people believe that the southern magnolia flowers are not edible, which is invalid. These flowers are edible, but their flavor is quite intense, and their taste is just like their smell. Also, you cannot eat them raw; you need to pickle them. You also cannot eat the entire southern magnolia blossom but only the petals. It would help to use the sweet/sour pickle recipe. Please take out the petals, dice them, and use them to flavor salads. The flavor will be too strong, so you have to go easy with your pickles.(4)
NUTRITION / MEDICINAL: A tea made from the bark is antiperiodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, laxative, stimulant and tonic. It has historically been used as a substitute for quinine in the treatment of malaria and is also taken internally in the treatment of colds, bronchial diseases, upper respiratory tract infections, rheumatism and gout. The bark has been chewed by people trying to break the tobacco habit. The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It does not store well so stocks should be renewed annually. A tea made from the fruit is a tonic, used in the treatment of general debility and was formerly esteemed in the treatment of stomach ailments. The leaves or bark have been placed in cupped hands over the nose and inhaled as a mild hallucinogen.(1)
RELATED: related to Tulip Poplar and Paw Paw
OTHER USES: An essential oil from the flowers has been used in the manufacture of perfumes. Wood - straight-grained, light, soft, easily worked, finishes well, aromatic and yellow in colour. It weighs 31lb per cubic foot. Used for furniture, broom handles, bowls and light woodenware articles etc. (1)
SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):