Magnolia flower is an ancient genus. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. As a result, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are tough, to avoid damage by eating and crawling beetles. In 1703 Charles Plumier (1646-1704) described a flowering tree from the island of Martinique in his Genera. He gave the species, that was locally known as 'Talauma', the genus name "Magnolia".
The laurel-leaved garden magnolia expressed dignity to the Victorians. The wild, swamp-dwelling magnolia meant perseverance.