Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants



Magnolia acuminata

Full to part sun; moderately wet to medium moisture level; organically rich loamy soil; strongly acid to neutral pH.

50-80 feet height by 50-80 feet spread; greenish yellow, tulip-like flowers in late spring; green, warty, cucumber-like fruits that mature to a showy red in late summer.

Growth Rate: Medium to fast

Maintenance: Low maintenance. Infrequent insect and disease problems.

Propagation: Seed germination code C (90-180). Moderately easy from seed.

Native Region: Concentrated in East Tennessee and along Mississippi River in West Tennessee

This canopy tree is the hardiest of the native, tree-sized magnolias (and the only magnolia that is native to Canada). Large, round-topped deciduous tree and one of the few magnolias that can serve as a shade tree. Needs a large space but is an excellent tree for the large property. Flowers not showy, greenish and only 2 inches across.   May take 12 or more years for first flowers to appear. Cucumber-like fruit is often missed because they occur at the top of the tree. Often produces respectable fall color. Occurs naturally on cool, moist sites, mostly in the mountains. Any home planting needs to imitate a similar situation. Soil must be moist, deep and well drained. Does not withstand extreme drought, wetness or pollution. Cultivars available.

Many fruits fall to ground with seeds still contained and are popular food for ground-feeding birds and small mammals.


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