Magnolia acuminata, also known as “The Cucumber Tree”. It takes this common name from the shape and appearance of the fruit which swells to resemble a cucumber after petal fall. The flowers are not big and blousy as in other members of the genus but merge with the spring foliage. There is a green metallic sheen to them in the sunshine. With a sweet, honeyed fragrance the flowers sit upright on the previous year’s growth.
A native to eastern North America where it makes a broad specimen as a large forest tree to 30 metres height. In Canada it is recognised as endangered.
As a topical reminder to keep fresh salad appearing on the kitchen table; remember to keep up with the sowing of small amounts of seed frequently at this time of year. No amount of salt on a woody radish will improve its texture!