Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Magnolia, Cucumber Magnolia
Magnolia acuminata

Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia (mag-NO-lee-a) (Info)
Species: acuminata (ah-kew-min-AY-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Magnolia cordata
Synonym:Magnolia acuminata var. subcordata

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)
USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Jan 4, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A handsome large specimen/shade/lawn tree for large landscapes (parks, golf courses, etc). It is pyramidal only when young, forming a rounded crown with maturity if given room.

Dirr gives its hardiness limit as Z(3)4.

According to the Illinois Poison Control Center, magnolias are completely non-toxic to humans.
The California Poison Control System says the same: YOUR PLANTS-plant list for...

Positive Rickwebb On Oct 8, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I've seen planted specimens in a few spots, not many, in northeast Illinois, where the soil is slightly alkaline usually, and southeast Pennsylvania with slightly or medium acid soils. Good looking coarse textured tree. Does not tolerate strong drought or poorly drained soils. Planted in good quality soil, not hard construction soil, it is usually reliable.

Neutral nick89 On Sep 19, 2004, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Rather large impressive forest tree with yellow spring flowers and huge leaves. These trees get quite tall. I have not grown this species but about a dozen or so mature specimens occure near a bottomland stream on my land. They would probably make a striking specimen tree.

Neutral elfmom On Sep 7, 2004, elfmom from Bigelow, AR wrote:

I bought this tree as a 1 ft. seedling. Two years in a row it has started growing and doing well, then about mid-summer the leaves have turned brown and dropped. I suspect the tree is burning in too much afternoon sun (zone 7b), so am transplanting it to a spot that will be shaded in the afternoon. I would appreciate any comments from anyone else who has this tree.

Positive Puplover On Sep 17, 2003, Puplover from Chaplin, CT (Zone 5b) wrote:

I bought this tree in July it was loaded with buds and about 4.5 feet tall. Planted in full sun. A couple weeks later the flowers opened, there must have been at least 50 and loaded with bumble bees and butterflies. The flowering lasted quite a while. There seems to be a few green balls on it now, I guess these are the cucumbers! I watered very heavily for about 2 weeks, and then every othere day. The tree still looks good, the bark has a soft look to it like deer antlers.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Deciduous tree, 50-80 ft, (15-24 m), upright branches, pyramidal. Leaves alternate, simple, 10-25 cm long, dark green above, soft pubescent and light green below. Buds greenish to white, pubescent, covered (as with all magnolias) by a single keeled scale. Flowers have greenish yellow petals (5-7.5 cm long), borne solitary, not very showy. Fruit an aggregate of pinkish-red follicles, 5-7.5 long, briefly persisting in fall (may look like a small cucumber).


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Bigelow, Arkansas
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Pittsford, New York
Cincinnati, Ohio
Tidioute, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Cambridge, Wisconsin

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