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In the wild, the umbrella magnolia is found in forests from Pennsylvania south to Georgia and west to Arkansas and Mississippi. It prefers moist soil along mountain streams and edges of swamps (Callaway 1994). As broad as its range, it is never common.
Coons, Janice; Coutant, Nancy; and Whiteside, Wesley, "Magnolia tripetala" (2011). Plants by Genus Species. 13.