The magnolia tree above is just about in full bloom in my neighborhood. The buds on the tree in the second photo are almost as beautiful as the actual blossoms themselves.
The bark from M. officinalis has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as hou po (厚朴). In Japan, kōboku, M. obovata has been used in a similar manner. The aromatic bark contains magnolol and honokiol, two polyphenolic compounds that have demonstrated anti-anxiety and anti-angiogenic properties. Magnolia bark also has been shown to reduce allergic and asthmatic reactions.
Magnolia grandiflora is the official state flower of both Mississippi and Louisiana. The flower's abundance in Mississippi is reflected in its nickname of "Magnolia State". The magnolia is also the official state tree of Mississippi.