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Tree 6–8 m. Branchlets slender, glabrous. Leaves evergreen, thin and leathery, 8–16 × 2.5–4 cm, oblanceolate to obovate-elliptic, dark green and glabrous above, greyish green and glabrous or with sparse appressed brown hairs and longer pale ones at the margin and on midrib below, 9–11 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, apex acuminate, base cuneate; petiole 1–1.2 cm, slightly grooved above, stipular scar 2–3 mm long. Flowers terminal, pinkish, fragrant; tepals nine, concave, obovate to broadly obovate, 2.6–4.5 × 1.5–2.5 cm, outer three tepals the largest; stamens numerous; gynoecium sessile with 45–55 carpels, ferruginous-pubescent. Fruits reddish, 5–6 cm long, ovoid-ellipsoid. Flowering May to June, fruiting September to October (China). Chen & Nooteboom 1993, Liu et al. 2004. Distribution CHINA: southeast Sichuan, northeast Yunnan; VIETNAM. Habitat Evergreen broadleaved forest between 700 and 1800(–2300) m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Liu et al. 2004.
Magnolia duclouxii seems to be a rather small, almost dainty tree, with small flowers and short narrow leaves. It is in cultivation in Europe, as young plants, some specimens at least originating as seed from Kunming Botanical Garden, although it is also commercially available. Mike Robinson (pers. comm. 2008) has two young unflowered trees, 2 and 3 m high, that have been hardy since planting in 2000 and 2003, respectively. They have an upright habit, and their glory so far has been the ‘superb shining maroon young growth’. A plant at Arboretum Wespelaar was eaten by deer (K. Camelbeke, pers. comm. 2007).