Magnolia don’t taste good. Only the blossoms are known edible. Animals eat the seeds from the fruit like ground-feeding birds, towhees, squirrels, and other small animals. Magnolia fruit (Magnolia Grandiflora) grows on a small tree found in the canebrake country of Florida and Alabama. The tree produces white flowers with red-orange tinted calyces, which hang from long stalks at the top. To collect some seeds for eating or propagating their trees, farmers cut branches that bear mature fruits just above ground level, leaving them leaning against other lower branches. The fruits are ripened over several weeks, so they will easily fall to their waiting companions in the grass below and begin growing again from ground-level cuttings, giving rise to new trees.
What Does Magnolia Fruit Look Like?
Magnolias bear fruit that looks like a pinecone. There are long, spiny protuberances, as well as individual follicles, within it. In some species, there is a small, berry-like fruit that is edible. It’s fascinating to see the fruits. They begin as large, red seed cones that can reach a length of 8 inches. Upon reaching maturity in the fall, the cones split open and release their seeds. The seeds, which range from 1 to 3 inches across, are found inside the fruit. They look like red or orange berries because of the fleshy layer known as the aril.
Some of the most primitive fruit among angiosperms is the southern magnolia tree’s fruit. There are approximately 3-8 inches of length between the cones of their fruit, which are woody and aggregate. Follicetum is the term used to describe an aggregate fruit composed of multiple follicles or carpels, each containing two or more seeds. A red fleshy aril covers each of the individual seeds as they mature. As the flesh splits open, the seeds can be seen beneath the red aril. Turkeys, quail, opossums, and squirrels are among the animals that consume and spread the seeds. When these trees are ten years old, they can start producing seeds, and they reach their maximum seed production when they are twenty-five years old.
It is believed that the chemical makeup of the phenols (and other chemical functional groups) in the magnolia seeds is safe because they are produced naturally. Phenols are found in many plants and organisms and are responsible for some of their defense mechanisms and taste.
Is Magnolia Fruit Safe To Eat?
No, it’s not toxic at all. There is no danger in eating the fruits, leaves, and flowers of Magnolia trees. Because it contains no harmful substances and can be eaten, it is safe for consumption.
This hard pinecone-like fruit first appears in the spring on magnolia trees. Scale-like follicles appear on the fruit in the fall. Seeds emerge from the follicles after the follicles have split open. The fruit begins to fall as the weather gets colder in the fall. A collection of seeds is gathered in the fall and stored in containers until the spring.
Magnolia tree fruit is annoying to people who live in densely populated neighborhoods and cities because the fruit falls once a year. It causes pedestrians to get hurt and things to get in the way on the sidewalks and the roads. Fruit from magnolia trees, also known for their beautiful flowers, adds elegance to gardens and yards. Many birds and butterflies also like the fruit because it has a lot of nectar that is sweet.
Magnolia Fruit Harvesting
Large cone-shaped fruits called follicles contain the majority of magnolia seeds. The seed can be harvested by taking advantage of the red, waxy seed that emerges from the follicles. After squeezing the fruit, three days of soaking in water will loosen the seed coat. After soaking, this is the best method for removing the seed from the seed coat. The seed oozes out of the fruit’s flesh. Simply squirts out of the fruit is the seed. Before planting, the moist seeds are stratified for two to four months at 32 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall-planted seeds will benefit from natural stratification conditions such as cool, moist weather.
Starting a Magnolia Tree from Seed
Planting magnolia trees in the garden can result in seedlings sprouting from the ground. There is a good chance that this seedling will produce its magnolia tree one day. The following cautions should be kept in mind, however:
Propagating- You can grow magnolias from seed as well as transplanting and grow seedlings. Magnolia seeds are difficult to propagate because they are not packaged. To start a magnolia tree from seed, you must collect fresh seeds from the berries. Before harvesting magnolia seed pods, determine if the parent tree is a hybrid. Hybrid magnolias don’t breed true, so that the offspring may look different. You won’t know you’ve made a mistake until 10 to 15 years later when the new tree blooms.
- Hold on to the pods (cones). Please don’t force the seeds out too early, but don’t let them dry out in the pod either.
- Soak the seeds in the water for several days to soften the orange outer coating.
- Rinse the loosening coating with soapy water.
- Dry the seeds overnight.
- Put the magnolia seeds in a plastic baggie with peat moss.
- Sort seeds. The baggie must be refrigerated “for at least 60 days.” This “stratification” (cold treatment) prepares the seeds for germination.
- Take the baggie out of the fridge in spring. Spread the contents (peat moss and seeds) on a seeding tray and keep them at 70-75°F.
- Moist but not soggy peat moss
- After germination, transplant the seedlings into potting mix-filled pots (5-14 days).
- Maintain a moist but not soggy potting mix in south-facing windows.
- After the danger of frost has passed, transplant the seedling outside.