Ashe’s Magnolia is a greatly underused, rare in cultivation, extremely ornamental small tree endemic to mixed hardwood forests and ravine slopes in a few counties in the “armpit” or panhandle of Florida. It is easily recognized by it’s very large leaf size, one to two feet long by six inches to a foot across, together with its small overall size, 20-25 feet. The numerous saucer-shaped, bright white flowers, with purple spots at the interior base of the petals, are correspondingly large – ten to twelve inches across – and are sweetly scented. This species flowers very early — we have seen it flower in a 1-gallon pot! — so the beautiful flowers are easily observed at eye-height, unlike its very tall cousins such as M.macrophylla and M. tripetela. (Some botanists classify this plant as Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei.) The magnificent flowers are followed by red to purple cone-like fruits. Magnolia ashei does not get particularly tall, but requires a good bit of lateral space for maximal show. This is a fantastic small, ornamental tree for our area. It has been named the 2017 plant of the year by the Garden Club of America.