Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Magnolia coco (Lour.) DC.

Frost hardy, evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub with smooth, net-veined leaves and nodding creamy-white, night-fragrant flowers, produced over a long period.  [RHSD, Hilliers'].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘As no author has given us any information respecting the fruit of the Chinese Magnolias, it is impossible to ascertain whether they really belong to this genus or not. We have been informed that some Botanists in Madrass, considering this plant as a new genus, named it Gwillimia in honour of Lady Gwillim, the patroness of the science in that Presidency; but as it cannot be separated from Magnolia, unless the fruit should be found to be different, we do not feel ourselves at liberty to adopt the alteration, though desirous of paying every respect to this amiable lady.

The flowers [of Magnolia pumila], though unfortunately of very short duration, are so powerfully fragrant, that a single one will perfume a whole apartment, in the evening.  To some persons however the scent is not agreeable.  Said to have been introduced [in 1786] by the late Mr. Slater, to whom we are indebted for so many of the curious plants of China’  [BM t.977/1806]. 

Apparently introduced via the equally prolific Captain Connor of the East Indiaman ‘Carnatic’.  ABR pl.226/1802.  LBC no.1555/1831.

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.661/1850]. Talauma pumila was included among plants sent from Kew by John Bidwill in November 1843 [AJCP].  It is likely that these plants came to Camden but there is no specific record of this.  However. it was requested of Loddiges’ Nursery on 6th January 1845 [MP A2933-2, p.28] and again on 1st February, 1849 [A2933-1, p.185] and obtained from this source, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King.  [ML A1980-3].  It was also included among desiderata in a letter to John Lindley dated 15th February 1848 but was not marked ‘arrived’ on Macarthur’s copy and had a cross next to it [A2933-1, p.157]. 


Published Mar 24, 2010 - 11:32 AM | Last updated Mar 24, 2010 - 11:40 AM

Figured are elliptic, glossy leaves and nodding, cup-shaped, creamy-white flower.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.977, 1806.

Magnolia coco (Lour.) DC. | BM t.977/1806 | BHL

Family Magnoliaceae
Region of origin

South East Asia to China

  • Magnolia pumila Andr.
  • Talauma coco Merr.
  • Talauma pumila Blume
  • Liriodendron coco Lour.
  • Liriopsis pumila (Andr.) Spach ex Baillon
Common Name

Coconut magnolia

Name in the Camden Park Record

Magnolia pumila 

Confidence level