Magnolia is a very ancient genus of flowering plants which contains about 210 species.
One of the most commonly grown Magnolia trees in Britain is the deciduous hybrid Magnolia x soulangeana (saucer magnolia) whose springtime blossoms may be various shades of white, pink or purple, and are often fragranced. One of its distinctive features is that its flowers emerge before its leaves.
Another popular British choice is Magnolia grandiflora, an evergreen, native to the United States, which is also known as the bull bay or southern magnolia. It has dark green glossy leaves and bears highly-fragranced white/cream flowers in late summer and autumn.