Cucumber Tree - Magnolia acuminata

This very rare Carolinean species is Canada’s only native Magnolia species, and unfortunately was Ontario’s first endangered tree species.  Although this magnificent species is more common in the south-eastern United States, it is endangered in Ontario and Canada due to deforestation and loss of habitat.  Individual trees are often separated by fragmented forests and are too far apart to be properly pollinated, so rehabilitation efforts have been slow.  This unique tree gets its common name from the shape and colour of the unripe seed pods. Ripe seed pods are a brilliant dark red. The Cucumber-Tree produces yellow-green flowers in early spring as the leaves open.

Ripe Cucumber Tree Fruit
Ripe Fruit.

Seeds emerged from ripe fruit
Seeds emerged from ripe fruit.

Yellow Bloom
Yellow Bloom

The pyramidal form of a Cucumber Tree
The pyramidal form of a Cucumber Tree.

Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Cucumber Trees. 1995-1999.
Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Cucumber Trees. 1995-1999.

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Farrar, J.L.. 1995. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. Toronto. ON. 504 pp.  

Kershaw, L. 2001. Trees in Ontario: Including tall shrubs. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. AB. 240 pp

Muma, W. 2011. Ontario Trees and Shrubs. [Online] Available:

OMNR, 2011. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Ontario Tree Atlas. [Online] Available:

OMNR, 2008. Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk.