Magnolia obovata is a medium-sized deciduous tree 15-30 m tall, with slate grey bark. The leaves are large, 16-38 cm (rarely to 50 cm) long and 9-20 cm (rarely 25 cm) broad, leathery, green above, silvery or greyish pubescent below. The flowers are also large, cup-shaped, 15-20 cm diameter, with 9-12 creamy, fleshy tepals, red stamens.
Leaf is sometimes used in Japan to wrap food.
Best growth generally occurs in USDA Zones 5-7.