Magnoliaceae -- Magnolia family
David S. Priester
Sweetbay (Magnolia uirginiana), also called swamp-bay, white-bay, laurel, swamp, or sweet magnolia, and swamp-laurel, is at times confused with loblolly-bay (Gordonia lasianthus) and redbay (Perseaborbonia), since "bay" is the term commonly used in referring to any of these three species. Sweetbay is readily distinguished from the others by the white pubescence of its lower leaf surfaces (11,21). Sweetbay is a slow-growing small to medium-sized tree found on wet, often acid soils of coastal swamps and low lands of the Coastal Plains. The soft aromatic straight-grained wood is easily worked and finishes well, so it is much used for veneer, boxes, and containers. Its flowers and foliage make it an attractive landscape tree.