Usually a big shrub but sometimes grafted onto a rootstock so that a small tree is generated. Grows extremely slowly, so that only after years a tree shape is shown. The branching is closed, creating a dense, round crown. Spread of the crown is 3 - 4 m. The green leaf is slightly shiny and underneath it is lightly hairy along the veins. The leaf buds and the flower buds are pilose.The star-shaped flowers appear before the leaves. They have a faint fragrance and become 10 cm across. The number of petals can vary greatly. A late night frost may damage the flowers. Magnolia stellata is very hardy but the cultivar 'Royal Star' can withstand distinctly severer frosts. The fleshy roots can grow both shallow and deep. Poor tolerance to dry soils.