What is a Magnolia Acuminata?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2019
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Magnolia acuminata is the scientific name for a tree commonly known as the cucumber-tree or the mountain magnolia. It is one of the most far-reaching species of magnolias and is native to the United States and Canada. Magnolia acuminata are typically found in areas that have rich, moist soils. In addition, it is a long-living, fast-growing species of tree. It is a popular tree to plant in yards and other areas where ornamental landscaping is warranted because it produces beautiful yellow flowers.

Generally, Magnolia acuminata grows during the spring and summer months. When the tree is mature, it can reach heights of 100 feet (about 30.5 m). Although it can be propagated through seeds, it usually takes years for a seed to convert to a seedling. Using a graft is typically a much faster way to propagate this species.

The green leaves of this species of magnolia are quite thick. They typically are lighter in color on their underside, giving the leaves a two-toned appearance. In addition, it produces red- or orange-colored seeds that contrast nicely with the yellow blooms when they mature in the fall.


The bark of the Magnolia acuminata is usually light brown-gray and peels easily. The coloring of the bark usually changes as it peels, converting from the dull brown-gray to a deeper brown-red color. The bark is often used in homeopathic remedies as well. It is believed to treat fevers, malaria, and rheumatism. In addition, it also is thought to work as a laxative.

Usually, Magnolia acuminata adapts well to soils that are moderately coarse in texture and moist. This species of magnolia is not tolerant to drought conditions nor is it fire resistant, making it a better choice for areas that receive plenty of rain. It is considered a hardy species because it can withstand temperatures that dip as low as -16°F (about -26.7°C), perfect for life in low mountainous areas, such as the Appalachians.

Although the seeds of Magnolia acuminata are eaten by some animals, such as squirrels and birds, they are not edible for humans. Besides its use in homeopathic medicine, there are other human-friendly uses of this species of tree. For example, the wood is strong and hardy. It is often used to make furniture, blinds, plywood, lumber, and crates. Of course, its most common use is simply that of an ornamental tree, adding color and beauty to homeowners’ lawns.


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