The Cucumber Magnolia is one such tree. This generally underused tree has fallen off the radar, I think in part, to its more subdued blooms. The Star Magnolia with its early spring flowers is always a show stopper in town. Magnolia Grandiflora lives up to its reputation as a grand dame of majestic beauty- it is a classic.
I ask you to take a second look at the Cucumber Magnolia's blossoms and you will see why I believe this is a tree worthy our consideration. The bloom reminds me of a garden lantern- its candle gently burning inside, viewable through the opening of the delicate yellow petals.
If Magnolia Grandiflora (one of my favorite trees) is the grand dame of Magnolias, then the Cucumber Magnolia is its quiet, softer sister.
A Few Facts:
Magnolia acuminata (L.) L.
+ 40 feet, Sun to Partial Shade, Blooms mid- late spring, Zone 4-8.
"The Cucumber Magnolia Tree is found in forests from New York to Georgia and west to Illinois. The first scientific observations were made in 1736 by John Clayton, one of Virginia's pioneer botanists. In the early 1800s these trees were widely exported to Europe, where they were found in the very finest gardens and landscapes. The pioneers were reputed to have used the bitters extracted from the green fruit with whisky as a fever medicine. The wood was also widely used for furniture and interior paneling." Arbor Day Foundation.