Carolinian
and Deciduous Forest Trees
of Southern Ontario
 

Cucumber Tree
Magnolia acuminata

Location in Ontario: Cucumber Tree (Cucumber Magnolia) is a Carolinian Tree that grows only in Norfolk County and the Niagara Region.

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


Grove of Cucumber Trees, University of Guelph Arboretum

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. The flowers are similar to lilies. Leaves are simple and large. Fruits are contained in cone-like structures. The bark is aromatic. The only Magnolia native to Canada is Cucumber Magnolia (Cucumber Tree).

Habitat: Rare in Canada, Cucumber Tree grows in rich, moist but sandy soil.

Landscape Use: Cucumber Tree is medium sized tree with a nice shape. It has large leaves, showy flowers. and colourful fruit, making it an outstanding lawn specimen.

TREE FACT: Cucumber Tree is also called Cucumber Magnolia, and is the only Magnolia native to Canada. It is also the largest of the Magnolia family.

Leaves: The alternate leaves are large and simple with smooth edges.


Leaves and fruit

FALL COLOUR WATCH:  gold to yellow

Size: This medium-sized tree reaches 25 metres and lives to be 150 years old.


Golden fall colours, University of Guelph Arboretum

Bark: The bark is grayish-brown with scaly ridges.

Flowers: Cucumber Tree 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.


Large cup-shaped flowers

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 year

    
Left: Mature seed, Right: Seed pods

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


Open flower

Wood: The wood is aromatic, medium soft and weak. Cucumber Tree wood is not used in Canada, due to the scarcity of the tree, however in the United States, it is used to make crates, boxes and cabinets.
Specific gravity: 0.48
Janka Hardness: 700 lb
Wood Comparison Chart


Twin Cucumber Trees, Norfolk County

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