During the summer, while strolling through the paths situated in the trailing edge of Villa Cusani Tittoni Traversi, one remains in awe when observing the demeanour of the majestic magnolia flower. They resemble doves because of their whiteness; they are big, solitary, velvety, showy and very fragrant.
The reddish ovoid fruits are clustered along a central axis and are 10 cm long. Once mature, they open and let out seeds of a beautiful ruby red colour with an even more intense scent.
The first exemplar of this plant arrived in Europe in Nantes in 1740, brought by a merchant returning from America. Its name was given by Linnaeus, a Swedish physician and naturalist, in honour of the French botanist Pierre Magnol. Native to Asia and America, it is a very ancient plant, from the Magnoliaceae family and is considered by experts as one of the first flowering plants on Earth, so much so that fossilized imprints of magnolias were found and date back to five million years ago.
A pyramid shape with rich foliage characterizes this majestic and ancient tree species. The evergreen leaves, have a deep green colour that go all the way to its margins on the top surface and brown rust in colour on the bottom. They are so leathery that they crackle in the rain or if moved by a light breeze. The trunk branches out at the base and the greenish gray bark contains a few cracks even in older trees.
Even if in the country of origin, the magnolia tree reaches heights of around 30 meters, in Europe they reach no more than 15 meters. It is a slow-growing plant; it is able to bloom only after twenty years and has a long life. It grows well on fresh and acidic soils, but not in limestone. It can be damaged by frost.
Although it is a rather delicate tree, it is a well-known species in all the gardens of country residences. Villa Litta in Lainate, for example, is home to an impressive magnolia tree that stands on the lawn of a nineteenth-century formal garden right on the entrance to the Water Tower of the Nymphs. At the entrance of Villa Crivelli Pusterla Limbiate, a majestic magnolia tree is located at the main entrance to worthily welcome the visitors.
In the language of flowers, the magnolia is a symbol of candour.