Magnolia Mount Pirongia


This Magnolia campbellii clone was identified by Ian Baldick and was found growing in a garden near the Waikato town of Pirongia which is in the eastern shadow of a mountain of the same name.

This clone has almost circular tepals which overlap to give a typical but continuous ‘saucer” to the newly opened flowers. This plant was added to the collection in 2008 as a one year old plant that had been budded onto M. x ‘Rustica’ seedling. It has set at least 3 good flower buds to open in spring 2009. It has been added to our breeding program.

In 1950s Bhutan(?) was the source of seed for campbellis into the UK, seedlings sent out from Hilliers. ‘Mt Pirongia’ was presumably one from this source. These types are distinguished by their drawn tips to the leaves. They tend to flower at an earlier age and are upright in their growth, suggesting a closer relationship to M. ssp. mollicomata Duncan and Davies original M. campbellii ‘Alba’ came as a seedling that was planted at Tupare Gardens. Russell Mathews was annoyed that he had a white instead of pink, V.C. Davies was excited and wanted it back. It was layered and propagated from there, but that clone was not a particularly good form. In later years this inferior form was budded and circulated by Duncan and Davies. It has a very upright habit and as a result it took about 6 or 8 years to flower. I know of other gardeners that were disappointed when their Magnolia campbellii seedlings from this era turned out white.