The Magnoliaceae are an ancient family; fossil plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae back date back 95 million years. A primitive aspect of the Magnolia family is that their large, cup-shaped flowers lack distinct petals or sepals. The large non-specialised flower parts, resembling petals, are called tepals. The leaves, flowers, and form of Michelia resemble Magnolia, but the blossoms of Michelia generally form clusters among the leaves, rather than singly at the branch ends as Magnolia does.
Several of the larger species are locally important sources of timber. Some species, including the Champak (Michelia champaca) and M. doltsopa are grown for their flowers, both on the tree and as cut flowers. Champak flowers are also used to produce an essential oil for perfume. A few species have been introduced to gardens or as street trees outside of the Indomalaya region, including Michelia figo, M. doltsopa, and M. champaca. The genus is named after the Florentine botanist Pietro Antonio Micheli (1679–1737).
The form shown here is Michelia x alba, a hybridised form not found in the wild and very popular as a garden ornamental. It is rather fashionable in Melbourne at the moment to plant these trees in one's garden!
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.