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Woody > Magnolia > Magnolia acuminata > Magnolia acuminata 'Lois'

Magnolia acuminata


Lois Cucumber Magnolia

Origin:  This cultivar was introduced in 1998 by Doctor Lola Koerting at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York City, United States of America (BBG) (Shaw, 2017). The name is in memory of Lois Carswell who was chair of the BBG trustee board (Shaw, 2017).
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


Magnolia acuminata ‘Lois’ is closely compared to the cultivar ‘Elizabeth’. In my opinion ‘Lois’ is far more extravagant with smaller yet deeper yellow-coloured flowers (Shaw, 2017), (Cover, 2009) and has a later bloom period, which allows the bud to protect the developing flower from possible late-spring frost (Davis, 2014). I personally would use this tree as an accent tree in my garden as it is very attractive with its numerous flowers (Dirr, 2009 p.678) and is considered a low maintenance tree (The Royal Horticultural society, n.d) - Brynna Kirkwood

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (deciduous)
USDA Hardiness Zone
Canadian Hardiness Zone
6a - 6b
RHS Hardiness Zone
Temperature (°C)
-21 - (-18)
Temperature (°F)
-5 - 0
8 - 12 m
4 - 8 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
Magnolia acuminata ‘Lois’is a deciduous small sized tree or large shrub (Dirr, 2009 p.678). Significant deep yellow flowers appear prior to the dark green simple leaves in late March to mid-April (Gardiner, 2020). A cross between the native to Canada; Cucumber magnolia and the China native; Yulan Magnolia (Cover, 2009).
This tree is used in gardens as an eye-catching specimen and should be avoided for street trees use, as they are in fact not urban tolerant (New Garden, n.d). Instead, it could be used as an accent or a shade tree. They are an acceptable specimen to plant underneath structures such as power lines due to its low canopy (New Garden, n.d). Admired for its primrose-like yellow flowers in March and early April (Gardiner, 2020) and coppery-gold autumn colour (New Garden, n.d), this tree can be seen being used in architectural type gardens and courtyards (The Royal Horticultural society, n.d). It can also be seen planted as hedge screens (Shoot Gardening, 2019).
Ideal conditions are evenly moist, but well-drained soil (The Royal Horticultural society, n.d). This tree thrives in acidic soils and should be planted in full to partial sun (Shoot Gardening, 2019). It is unable to stand in water for long periods and will die under these conditions (New Gardens, n.d). Magnolia acuminata ‘Lois’ is not very tolerant of urban pollution like salt and emissions, therefore should not be planted as a street tree (New Gardens, n.d).
The shape of this tree tends to have a columnar upright habit with pruning but may also be seen in the landscape in a more rounded form with the height of the tree typically just surpassing the width of the tree (The Royal Horticultural society, n.d), (Dirr, 2009 p.678). The branches have about half a meter of clearance from the ground (New gardens, n.d). After about ten years the tree will reach about 9 m tall with a 6 m spread (Shoot Gardening, 2019).
ID Characteristic
Has vibrant yellow flowers (Shaw, 2017) that appear along the branches in mid-spring before the large dark green simple, broadly ovate leaves (Gardiner, 2020), (Shoot Gardening, 2019). The vibrant yellow flower (Shaw, 2017) keeps its striking yellow colour throughout its months in bloom and portrays a chalice-like shape (Gardiner, 2020) (Dirr, 2009 p.678).
No significant pests or diseases affect this tree. May be susceptible to scale insects (The Royal Horticultural society, n.d), (Dirr, 2009 p.678). Possible diseases include coral spots, phytophthora root rot and honey fungus (The Royal Horticultural society, n.d).
Horticultural origin.
Bark/Stem Description
The bark appears to be a reddish brown, with small grey vertical lenticels covering the stem (Dirr, 2009 p.676). Upon close inspection the leaf scars on the stem appear in the shape of a “u” or a parabola (Dirr, 2009 p.676).
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The bud of the Magnolia is covered in a single keeled scale (Dirr, 2009 p.676). It has 8 tepals that can be up to 10 cm long (The Royal Horticultural society, n.d).
Leaf Description
The leaves are large, dark green, simple, and broadly ovate with an alternate pattern (Dirr, 2009 p.676). The leaves transition from a dark green to a coppery-bronze colour throughout autumn and can be seen to have pinnate venation (The National Gardening Association, n.d). The leaves have an acuminate apex which is where “acuminata” comes from (Caerhays Estate, 2019).
Flower Description
The flowers are often found to be sterile (Dirr, 2009 p.676). The flower is fragrant and chalice shaped (Dirr, 2009 p.678) and has 9-12 tepals (Dirr, 2009 p.678). The bloom appears around late March to mid-April (Gardiner, 2020) and lasts for approximately five weeks where they keep their vibrant colour (Gardiner, 2020).
Fruit Description
Not ornamentally significant and rarely seen though the fruit has an aggregate of follicles (Dirr, 2009 p.676).
Colour Description
Has vibrant yellow flowers (Shaw, 2017). With dark green leaves that turn to a coppery-bronze in the autumn months ( (Gardiner, 2020).
Texture Description
Moderately coarse throughout most of the year and becoming coarser come winter. Texture does not change throughout the seasons (Dirr, 2009 p.676).
Notable Specimens
Longwood Gardens located in Pennsylvania, United States of America has several notable specimen apart of their Hillside Garden collection.
It must be propagated through softwood cuttings. Take soft-wood cuttings between spring and early summer, early in the day when the plant is still turgid. Taking non-flowering shoots will give a better chance of rooting. You will want to remove up to 10 cm of the shoot, cutting it cleanly above a bud. The base should be dipped into a hormone powder or liquid and planted in compost. Cuttings that are potted by mid-summer will have good root development to survive the winter. The cutting should be taken from a healthy parent plant. (The Royal Horticultural society, n.d).
Cover, S. (2009). The performance of Yellow Magnolia Hybrids in a modified Continental Climate. Magnolia, the Journal of the Magnolia Society International, 44(86). Dirr, M. A. (2009) Manual of Woody Landscape plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation uses. Stipes Publication