Cucumber Tree

Magnolia acuminata Magnoliaceae

Growth habit


Native distribution

Native to the Finger Lakes Region, NY to GA, West to IL and AR


A 70'x30' tree when mature.
Light: Sull sun to part shade.
Moisture and Soil: moist to medium, adpatable to many soil types, including sand, loam, and clay.


Seed Treatment and Storage: Remove outer fleshy layer of seed coat. Moist cold stratify 30-60-90 days.

Biocultural value

The Cherokee used cucumber magnolia wood for lumber, furniture, and pulpwood. Medicinally, the bark was used as a toothache remedy (Cherokee and Haudenosaunee), internal analgesic (Cherokee), and anthelmintic (Cherokee).

The statements above were sourced from:

Native American Ethnobotany Database: http://naeb.BRIT Native American Ethnobotany

Wildlife value

Cucumber tree's nectarless flowers are primarily beetle-pollinated. Leaf beetles and scale insects feed on the foliage and sap. Forest birds eat the bright red seeds and deer sometimes feed on the twigs, leaves, and buds.


Mundy Wildflower Garden, Treman Woodland Walk, Coy Glen, Ringwood Ponds

Source of plant

Schichtel's Nursery, Claude Heit, Moses Nurseries, Ruth Nix


Tree reaching 50' to 80' in height with a comparable spread at maturity; in youth a distinctly pyramidaltree, the spread always being considerably less than the height. Habit pyramidal when young (20 to 30 years of age), in old age developing a rounded to broad-rounded outline with massive wide-spreadingbranches. Fall color green or brown; some trees develop a soft, ashy-brown fall color which is actuallyquite attractive. Flowers perfect, often self-sterile, although some trees are self-fertile, greenish-yellow,2 1/2" to 3" long, solitary, borne in late May and early June, masked by foliage; seedling grown trees maynot flower until they have reached 20' or more in height. Fruit an aggregate of follicles, pinkish-red,2" to 3" long, briefly effective in October.

USDA Hardiness Zone


Special characteristics

growth habit