The Magnoliaceae/mæɡˌnoʊliˈeɪsiː/, or Magnolia Family, is a flowering plant family in the orderMagnoliales. It consists of two subfamilies:
Unlike most angiosperms, whose flower parts are in rings, the Magnoliaceae have their stamens and pistils in spirals on a conical receptacle. This arrangement is found in some fossil plants and is believed to be a basal or early condition for angiosperms. The flowers also have parts not distinctly differentiated into sepals and petals, while angiosperms that evolved later tend to have distinctly differentiated sepals and petals. The poorly differentiated perianth parts that occupy both positions are known as tepals.
Magnolia is an ancient genus. Appearing before bees did, the flowers evolved to encourage pollination by beetles. To avoid damage from pollinating beetles, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are extremely tough. Fossilised specimens of Magnolia acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae dating to 95 million years ago. Another aspect of Magnolias that is considered to represent an ancestral state is that the flower bud is enclosed in a bract rather than in sepals; the perianth parts are undifferentiated and called tepals rather than distinct sepals and petals. Magnolia shares the tepal characteristic with several other flowering plants near the base of the flowering plant lineage such as Amborella and Nymphaea (as well as with many more recently derived plants such as Lilium).