PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It almost looks like a tiny pineapple, rather exotic and tropical, so it’s fun to find that this fruit belongs to a US native plant group, Magnolia grandiflora, or Southern magnolia. This is the magnolia with large evergreen leaves that hang on through winter and look lovely in holiday arrangements. We live at the very top of its native range, but the hardier cultivars with shiny waxy green leaves to protect them, do very well around here – such as ‘Pocono Gold,’ or another called ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty,’ which has a fuzzy brown coat on the underside of its leaves to help it handle cold weather.
The distinctive fruits you see on the tree in the fall are up to 6 inches long, and they start out a pretty pinkish color and sort of resemble a cone. Then, as the sections open up they reveal the beautiful bright red seeds of the Southern Magnolia that will both decorate your yard and be enjoyed by squirrels, quail, wild turkeys, songbirds and other critters looking for a wintertime treat.
Reported By Phran Novelli, KYW Newsradio