Common Name(s): Sweetbay, Swamp Magnolia
Scientific Name: Magnolia virginiana
Distribution: Southeastern United States
Tree Size: 50-80 ft (15-24 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 34 lbs/ft3 (545 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .45, .54
Janka Hardness: 810 lbf (3,600 N)*
*Estimated hardness based on specific gravity
Modulus of Rupture: 10,900 lbf/in2 (75.2 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,640,000 lbf/in2 (11.31 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 5,680 lbf/in2 (39.2 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.7%, Tangential: 8.3%, Volumetric: 12.9%, T/R Ratio: 1.8
Color/Appearance: Very wide sapwood is a creamy white to grayish color. Comparatively narrow heartwood color ranges from a medium to dark brown, sometimes with green, purple or black streaks.
Grain/Texture: Grain is straight, with a medium uniform texture. Moderate natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; small to medium pores in no specific arrangement, numerous; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; growth rings distinct; narrow rays visible without lens, normal spacing; parenchyma marginal.
Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable to perishable regarding decay resistance, and also susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: Generally easy to work with both hand and machine tools. Turns, glues, stains, and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, species in the Magnolia genus have been reported to cause asthma-like symptoms and runny nose. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Readily available within its natural range, though difficult to find elsewhere. Prices should be low for a domestic hardwood.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, interior trim, upholstered furniture frames, and general utility wood.
Comments: So named for its sweetly-fragrant, cup-shaped, white flowers. Because of its attractive flowers and foliage, it’s also grown as an ornamental tree. Sweetbay is sometimes called swamp magnoila, as it occurs near swamps and lowland habitats.