17. CUCUMBER TREE
Magnolia acuminata Linnaeus
|Cucumber tree, so called because of its cucumber-like fruit, is the only magnolia that is at all common in this state outside of Long Island. In rich woods, on moist slopes, and along stream courses, from the central part of the state westward and southward, it is found locally. The wood is light, soft, close-grained, brittle, and light yellowish brown in color. It resembles that of yellow poplar and besides wood-carving, has much the same uses. Because of its yellowish green flowers, its large leaves, its rapid growth, and its red seeds, it is often grown in lawns and parks.|
grayish brown in color, with long narrow furrows separating into rather loose, scaly,
Twigs - brittle, brown in color, smooth or shiny, aromatic odor.
Winter buds - terminal bud oblong, somewhat curved, thickly covered with pale, silky hairs, pointed, about 1/2 inch long; lateral buds smaller, blunt, also hairy.
Leaves - alternate, simple, ovate, pointed at the tip, 4 to 10 inches long, entire margin. One of the few species of the state that has an entire-margined leaf.
Fruit - a cone-like or cucumber-like, cylindrical mass, often curved, about 2 1/2 inches long, containing a large number of scarlet, pea-like seeds which dangle from the ends of short, white threads when ripe in the early autumn.
Distinguishing features - smooth margin of large leaf; aromatic odor of twigs; oblong terminal bud; branching like that of pear tree, fruit like cucumber.