Magnolia stellata, sometimes called the star magnolia, is a slow-growing shrub or small tree native to Japan. It bears large, showy white or pink flowers in early spring, before its leaves open. It may be found growing wild on Honshū, Japan’s island.
Magnolia stellata tree grows 1.5 to 2.5 m in height, spreading to 4.6 m in width at maturity. Young trees display upright oval growth, but the plants spread and mound with age. The tree blooms at a young age, with the slightly fragrant 7–10 cm (3–4 in) flowers covering the bare plant in late winter or early spring before the leaves appear. There is natural variation within the flower color, which varies from white to rich pink; the hue of pink magnolias also changes from year to year, depending on day and night air temperatures prior to and during flowering. The flowers are star-shaped, with at least 12 thin, delicate petal-like tepals—some cultivars have more than 30. The leaves open bronze-green, turning to deep green as they mature, and yellow before dropping in autumn. They are oblong and about 4 in (10 cm) long by about 1.5 in (4 cm) wide.