Magnolia x alba
This large, fast-growing tree is a hybrid plant, not found in the wild. It is a cross between Magnolia montana and Magnolia alba. The tree flowers bloom during spring and fall, and blooms most heavily during the summer months. The leaves of the joy perfume tree grow up to about 14 inches long. The flowers are narrow-petaled and about 2.6 inches in length. Scarlet or brown seeds cluster along a long stalk. The flowers are very fragrant at night and only a little less so during the daytime. Each flower may last only a day or two before its petals fall to the ground—at times almost covering it. It is a large, fast growing tree.
The essential oils taken from the strong-scented flowers of the joy perfume tree have been used as ingredients in Joy, one of the world’s most expensive perfumes, as well as in other perfumes. The joy perfume tree is also a source of timber, fuel, yellow dye, and traditional medicine. The tree’s wood is used for making boats, drums, and religious engravings. In India, however, where the tree is revered, it is rarely cut and can be found on the premises of Hindu temples. The tree is grown as an ornamental in several parts of the world.
A related species, Michelia compressa, is a 40-foot- tall tree native to Japan that has 2-inch-wide fragrant yellow flowers.
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