Magnolia × soulangeana (saucer magnolia) is a hybrid plant in the genus Magnolia and family Magnoliaceae. It is a deciduous tree with large, early-blooming flowers in various shades of white, pink, and purple. It is one of the most commonly used magnolias in horticulture, being widely planted in the British Isles, especially in the south of England; and in the United States, especially the east and west coasts.
Growing as a multistemmed large shrub or small tree, Magnolia × soulangeana has alternate, simple, shiny, dark green oval-shaped leaves on stout stems. Its flowers emerge dramatically on a bare tree in early spring, with the deciduous leaves expanding shortly thereafter, lasting through summer until autumn.
Magnolia × soulangeana flowers are large, commonly 10–20 cm (4–8 in) across, and colored various shades of white, pink, and maroon. An American variety, ‘Grace McDade’ from Alabama, is reported to bear the largest flowers, with a 35 cm (14 in) diameter, white tinged with pinkish-purple. The exact timing and length of flowering varies between named varieties, as does the shape of the flower. Some are globular, others a cup-and-saucer shape.
(From Wikipedia, March 2013)