Magnolia soulangiana, commonly known as the saucer magnolia, or tulip magnolia or sugar magnolia. Flowers are large from 5 to 10 inches(!) in diameter, cup-shaped and appearing before the leaves in early to late May. Those of you who might be worried that this warm spell is scary can add this to the pile.
This popular hybrid originated as a chance seedling in a garden near Paris France over 100 years ago. Unlike many other trees, it will bloom when it is still very small, plants merely 2 to 3 feet tall often producing several flowers. Since it is a hybrid species there are many clones, the flowers ranging from white to a deep reddish-purple, according to variety. According to some reports, the flowers on asingle tree may vary in color somewhat from year to year. Normally the Saucer Magnolia is as wide as it is high with several main trunks.
From Trees for American Gardens by Donald Wyman, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, NY.