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Magnolia kobus 'Wada's Memory': 'Wada's Memory' Kobus Magnolia1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2


A striking tree in summer or winter. The cultivar `Wada's Memory' has black-green leaves, large, six-inch, fragrant white blooms which appear before the leaves, and an upright or columnar growth habit (at least in youth). Dropping its large, six-inch leaves in fall with a yellow display of color, `Wada's Memory' forms an attractive dark green winter specimen. Young trees flower poorly. The pink fruits which develop split open to reveal bright red seeds, which sway from slender threads before dropping to the ground.

Figure 1. Young Magnolia kobus 'Wada's Memory': 'Wada's Memory' Kobus Magnolia
Figure 1.  Young Magnolia kobus 'Wada's Memory': 'Wada's Memory' Kobus Magnolia
Credit: Ed Gilman

General Information

Scientific name: Magnolia kobus
Pronunciation: mag-NO-lee-uh KOE-bus
Common name(s): 'Wada's Memory' Kobus Magnolia, `Wada's Memory' Northern Japanese Magnolia
Family: Magnoliaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 5A through 8A (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: little invasive potential
Uses: specimen; street without sidewalk; screen; container or planter; tree lawn 4-6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; sidewalk cutout (tree pit)
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range


Height: 25 to 30 feet
Spread: 25 to 35 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: upright/erect, oval, pyramidal
Crown density: dense
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire, undulate
Leaf shape: obovate, elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: brachidodrome, pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow
Fall characteristic: showy

Figure 3. Foliage
Figure 3.  Foliage


Flower color: white/cream/gray, pink
Flower characteristics: very showy


Fruit shape: elongated, irregular
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: pink, red
Fruit characteristics: attracts birds; showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: green, brown
Current year twig thickness: medium, thick
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; slightly alkaline; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: unknown


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: yes
Outstanding tree: yes
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: susceptible
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

Kobus Magnolia should be grown in full sun or partial shade on any well-drained soil. Probably not for poorly-drained areas but supposedly tolerant of soil with an alkaline pH. It appears to grow well in clay soil. It will be available at selected nurseries.

Propagation is easily done by cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern but occasionally bothered by scale as are other Magnolias.


1. This document is ENH-539, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #ENH-539

Release Date:December 9, 2014

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