Cucumber magnolia hybrid with star magnolia-Vigorous fast growing progeny, drought tolerant
Every now and then someone creates a series of ornamental plants that end up being named and trademarked. These are usually very visually stunning plants with great floral characteristics. But more often then not, people are in a hurry and want their creation out there stat. Magnolia is squarely in this camp. As a result Magnolia varieties may lack a certain flexibility to grow in non Magnolia soils and dry locations. Such is the case of many Magnolias especially the cucumber magnolia. Beautiful but fickle. I like the fancy magnolias but can their diversity be employed for wood production and biodiversity in general. How can they grown in a agroforestry situation or just an abandoned farm field. I grew many seedlings of it only to find, this forest giant is really hard to established on the sandy dune type of soil I have. Almost all of them failed. Luckily I found a few hybrids of it and even some unique large leafed subspecies of it that were found in Ontario. I grew these plants at my farm, and waited and waited. It was a long wait. 25 years later one cross in particular was very successful. This bright yellow produces a good fruit display too making it easier to grow from seed.
Yellow cucumber magnolia are highly floriferous, have dense foliage and a strong upright timber like growth. The large broad leaves and pyramidal shape of the crown make this a nice shade tree as well. The multi-petaled flowers are bright yellow opening in early May usually past the frost date here. This tree produces fertile seed and could be further used to develop magnolias for wind breaks as well potential wood products.
This is considered a hybrid of the cucumber magnolia and star magnolia. It is fully fertile and worth propagating from seed as well as cuttings to further refine the selection process.
To germinate the seeds: Magnolia seeds rot easily so you have to be careful not to store them in too moist of a soil mix when refrigerating. The seeds also break down easily so you do not want to overly dry them if you processing them yourself. Shipped in a bit of moist sands, the seeds have been thoroughly cleaned of all pulp several times and then refrigerated starting on December 1st which will start their dormancy. You need to continue the dormancy through April and then plant. Put in a bit of moist peat moss before refrigerating after you get the seeds.
After 90 plus days in cold stratification, the seeds can then be brought to room temperature then sprouting will occur after one week and go on for a month or more. The seeds will sprout a white root first and the seeds needs to be covered by 1/4 inch of sandy soil. The seed will then pop new cotyledons out of the soil and then a top will go from there. Careful not to break off the roots if they go too long in storage. Keep the soil moist in the pots if you are growing these in pots.
|Genus & Species||Magnolia acuminata x cordata x stellata|
|Seed Source||Michigan-originally hand pollinated cross. Was successful.|
|Height (ft)||40-60ft. height and width|
|Pollination Requirements||Self fertile. Having additional pollinators like acuminata or cordata trees or seedlings of itself to get larger seed crops.|
|Soil||Moist loam is the ideal location for magnolias. This one is able to establish in drier soils that are not that acidic too and still retain vigor.|
|Ease of Cultivation||Faster and easier to establish than pure acuminata seedlings on my farm. Trees are well rooted as they mature and able to hold soil extremely well. Somewhat shade tolerant species and probably could be used as a windbreak magnolia as it is shows no signs of bark cracks or wind damage to the limbs. I have seen pure acuminata cultivars and species struggle in dry and wind swept locations.|