Cucumber Magnolia
Magnolia acuminata

Location in Ontario
Cucumber Magnolia (Cucumber Tree) is a rare Carolinian Tree that grows only in Norfolk County and the Niagara Region. It grows in rich, moist but sandy soil.

COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Status: Cucumber Magnolia is identified as an Endangered Species in Canada. This is due to its limited range and loss of habitat.

COSEWIC: Cucumber Magnolia


Twin Cucumber Magnolias, Norfolk County
 

Genus Magnolia
Magnolia's are known for their large, showy flowers! The flower bud is enclosed in a bract. Flowers have no distinct sepals and petals, but parts called "tepals", which occur in whorls. It is difficult to find information about tepals, but here is what wikipedia has to say. The flowers are similar to lilies. Leaves are simple, alternate and large. Fruits are contained in cone-like structures. The bark is aromatic. The only Magnolia native to Canada is Cucumber Magnolia (Cucumber Tree).

In the Landscape
Cucumber Magnolia is a medium sized tree that reaches 25 metres and lives to 150 years of age. It has large leaves, showy flowers and colourful fruit, with a nice overall form, making it an outstanding lawn specimen.

TREE FACT: Cucumber Magnolia (Cucumber Tree) is the only Magnolia native to Canada. It is also the largest of the Magnolia family.

TREE FACT: Cucumber Magnolia is named for its green fruit which (supposedly) resembles a cucumber.


Grove of Cucumber Magnolias, University of Guelph Arboretum

Leaves
The alternate leaves are large and simple with smooth edges. Leaves turn yellow to gold in the fall.
Bark
The bark is grayish-brown with scaly ridges.
Flowers
Cucumber Magnolia is monoecious with perfect flowers. Flowers appear in early June with the leaves. They are large and cup-shaped with 6 petals and vary in colour from yellow to yellowish-green. Flowers do not appear until the tree is 25 to 30 years old. Pollination is by insects (mainly beetles).
Fruit
The seeds are in a fleshy cone-like aggregate which turns pink when it matures in September. The seeds are small, shiny and orange in colour. Fruit production begins at about 30 years of age, and good seed crops occur every four to five years.


Beautiful flowers, University of Guelph Arboretum


Open flower, Norfolk County

Wood
The wood is aromatic, medium soft and weak. It is used to make crates, boxes and cabinets.
Specific gravity: 0.48
Janka Hardness: 700 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Genetics
Cucumber Magnolia is tetraploid and shows much variability throughout its range.


Golden fall colours, University of Guelph Arboretum

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual for Cucumber Magnolia.

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