TREES & plants


This large, deciduous magnolia tree is excellent for large properties such as parks, golf courses, and naturalized areas. Cucumbertree's wide-spreading branches are covered with dark green leaves that turn an attractive yellow-brown in the fall. Although its flowers are not as showy as those of other magnolia species, the cucumbertree yields interesting pinkish-red fruit pods.

Botanical name: 
Magnolia acuminata
All Common Names: 
cucumbertree, cucumber magnolia
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
Native Locale: 
  • Illinois
  • North America
Planting Site: 
  • Residential and parks
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Shade
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
50-80 feet
Mature Width: 
50-80 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Prefers
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Intolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Intolerant of pollution
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Summer blossoms
  • Fall color
  • Persistent fruit/seeds
  • Showy fruit
  • Showy flowers
  • Attractive bark
Season of Interest: 
  • Late spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • Yellow
Shape or Form: 
  • Oval
  • Pyramidal
Growth Rate: 
  • Moderate
  • Fast
Transplants Well: 
  • Yes
  • Songbirds
More Information: 

Cucumbertree magnolia (Magnolia acuminata)Cucumbertree magnolia (Magnolia acuminata)photo: John Hagstrom
Tree & Plant Care

  • Must be planted in the spring

Disease, pests, and problems


Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat



Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife


Bark color and texture 

  • Color: gray 
  • Texture: smooth

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

  • Color: dark green
  • Fall color: attractive yellow-brown

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

  • Arrangement: singular

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

  • Type: aggregate fruit pods
  • Size:
  • Color: pinkish-red

Cultivars and their differences