Cucumber Tree or Cucumber Magnolia, Magnolia acuminata
Magnoliaceae or Magnolia Family


Tall deciduous tree, to 75 feet. Bark furrowed, corky. Leaves egg-shaped, 4 to 10 inches long, slightly hairy beneath, alternate on the branches. Flowers yellow or greenish yellow, with long petals, in spring just before the leaves. Fruits of overlapping scales, resembling a cucumber when green, turning orange-red. Seeds bright red, released when scales open. Leaves drop in the fall; winter buds large, velvety white hairy.

A native tree, often cultivated. Rare in the Park, but may be more common than thought if most are tall. There is a specimen near the Grand Staircase. Another fell in late 2011 across Connelly's Run and into the North Meadow but has continued to produce leaves and flowers.

Flowers and fruits are distinctive and provide easy identification. Difficult to identify and likely to be overlooked if lacking them, although the winter buds make identification easy in winter and late fall.



Underside of leaf

Late flower

Winter bud


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