Big-Leaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophyllaMichaux)has the largest size simple leaf of any North American tree species. Its range includes the southeastern United States. In North Carolina it is predominantly found in Gaston County, located in the western Piedmont region of the state. Andre Michaux first described this species from a population site in Gaston County in 1789. This is a preliminary study of a larger research project to better understand the ecology of Magnolia macrophylla. This study includes data from six population sites sampled during the 2000/2001 growing seasons. Initial data suggest correlations with M. macropylla and more mesic sites. Fagus grandifolia was the most important component species in all sites. There is evidence that recent disturbance at many of these sites is a facor in its establishment and maintenance.

Key words: Andre Michaux, disturbance, Magnolia, mesic, North Carolina, sensitive species