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Magnolia acuminata (Cucumbertree)
Makin, Julie

Magnolia acuminata

Magnolia acuminata (L.) L.

Cucumbertree, Cucumber tree, Mountain magnolia

Magnoliaceae (Magnolia Family)

Synonym(s): Magnolia acuminata var. cordata, Magnolia acuminata var. ozarkensis, Magnolia acuminata var. subcordata, Magnolia cordata, Tulipastrum acuminatum, Tulipastrum cordatum

USDA Symbol: MAAC

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The hardiest of all magnolias, Cucumber-tree is a large, round-topped, deciduous tree that can grow 60-75 ft. tall and wide. Its leaves, from 6-10 in. long, are deep-green in summer and yellow-brown in fall. Flowers are not showy; only 2 in. across and greenish in color. They are followed by a cucumber-like fruit which turns from green to red. The flowers and fruit are often missed because they occur at the top of the tree.

Cucumber-tree is the only magnolia native to Canada. It is extremely rare in Ontario and is threatened with extirpation throughout its Canadian range. (Kershaw)

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower:
Fruit: Red
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: W. NY, s. Ont., s. IN, s. IL & s. MO, s. to FL & LA
Native Habitat: Rich, wooded slopes; stream banks; uplands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rich, moist, acidic soils.
Conditions Comments: This is a good specimen tree with a medium growth rate. Use cucumber tree only in an area where the huge leaves, dropping thoughout the late summer and fall, are not a maintenance problem. This tree is affected by few diseases or pests however it does not withstand extreme drought or wetness or pollution. Mature trees are reluctant to heal wounds or cleaning cuts.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Many fruits fall to the ground with their seeds still enclosed and become forage for towhees and other ground-feeding birds, as well as small mammals.
Use Food: Flower buds and flowers are edible, and may have provided a minor food source to First Nations and white settlers. (Athenic)
Use Medicinal: First Nations People used bark extracts as analgesics, antidiarrheal, cold and toothache remedy. (Athenic)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

Propagation

Seed Collection: Remove seeds from fruit shortly after harvest and handle with care. Excessive drying or heat can damage seeds.
Seed Treatment: Cold-stratify for 3-6 months.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Bibliography

Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 1258 - Trees of Ontario (2007) Kershaw, Linda

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Magnolia acuminata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Magnolia acuminata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Magnolia acuminata

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2014-03-27
Research By: TWC Staff

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