Need really high density of trees to get a surplus but I've heard that it produces really strong flavor honey, ie: smells good but taste really bad.
All on second hand info, so you need a lot more research on it. They are really messy trees to have in the yard and that's first hand knowledge.
My neighbors magnolia literally buzzes when in bloom. I'm not sure if it's just pollen that they're collecting but they certainly are getting something. But I agree with UT's statement, very very messy. There is at least two species of magnolias that I know of though, maybe more, and I've been told that one species is not messy at all. For the life of me the name of the non messy one is escaping me at the moment of course.
A paper of interest:
Beetle Pollination and Floral Thermogenicity in Magnolia tamaulipana (Magnoliaceae)
Gregg Dieringer, Leticia Cabrera R., Manuel Lara, Larisa Loya, and Pedro Reyes‐Castillo
International Journal of Plant Sciences
Vol. 160, No. 1 (January 1999), pp. 64-71
From the abstract ---
Our results indicate that M. tamaulipana possesses a highly specialized beetle pollination system involving Cyclocephala (Scarabaeidae: Dynastinae) and members of the Staphylinidae. Of the 366 insects visiting 213 flowers of M. tamaulipana, 364 were beetles. Cyclocephala caelestis accounted for 52% and Myrmecocephalus sp. for 46% of the visits.
I live in Tulsa and have a 30' Magnolia. They drop their huge leaves twice a year and the seed pods are 4" long. The highest maintenance tree I've ever seen, something's always dropping off of it. When the blooms fall off I get to deal with ants, roaches and snakes. But they do attract bees and those big Cacida killer wasps love them too.
If you leave the limbs all the way to the ground, you can run the mower around the tree and blow all the leaves and pods back under the tree. No mess, no maintainence. Plus they look like a huge green Christmas tree.
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