Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Cucumber Tree
Magnolia acuminata
Magnoliaceae

The roots are very disease-resistant and are used as a rootstock for less vigorous species[226].

Wood – finely grained, soft, light, durable, not strong[4, 46, 61, 82, 171, 229, 235]. It weighs 29lb per cubic foot[235]. It takes a very good polish and is used for boxes, crates, flooring, cabinet making etc[4, 46, 61, 171, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    A tea made from the bark is antiperiodic, aromatic, mildly diaphoretic, laxative, stimulant, tonic[4, 222]. It has historically been used as a substitute for quinine in the treatment of malaria[222]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of stomach ache and cramps[257]. The bark has been chewed by people trying to break the tobacco habit[222]. A hot infusion of the bark has been snuffed to treat sinus problems and has also been held in the mouth to treat toothaches[257]. The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238]. It does not store well so stocks should be renewed annually[238].

    A tea made from the fruit is a tonic, used in the treatment of general debility and was formerly esteemed in the treatment of stomach ailments[222].

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed must be kept cold over the winter and should be sown in late winter in a cold frame[200]. The seed usually germinates in the spring but it can take 18 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions when they are more than 15cm tall, though should be well mulched and given some protection from winter cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Layering in early spring[200].
Best grown in a warm position in a moderately rich free soil of an open texture[1]. Tolerates limey soils[200] so long as they are deep and rich in humus[188]. The branches are brittle and so a sheltered position is required[200]. Very tolerant of atmospheric pollution[200]. Plants are hardy to about -28¡c[200]. A fairly fast-growing tree, it takes about 25 – 30 years before it first produces flowers and lives about 125 – 150 years in the wild[229]. The sub-species M. acuminata cordata begins flowering at an earlier age[245]. Good seed crops are produced about every 3 – 5 years[229]. The flowers have a delicate perfume[245]. The fleshy roots are easily damaged and any transplanting is best done during a spell of mild moist weather in late spring[182].
Eastern N. America – New York to Georgia, west to Alabama and Ontario.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.