Cucumber-Tree

Photo of the Tree

The cucumber-tree is so rare in Canada it is considered an endangered species threatened with imminent extinction. It occurs in southern parts of Ontario north of Lake Erie.

The tree grows up to 83 feet high (25 metres high).

Its cone-like fruit bears a strange resemblance to a cucumber. It turns reddish at maturity and splits along one side releasing one or two seeds. Birds and animals love to feed on these seeds, and in the process help renew the species.

The cucumber-tree grows well on rich moist soils, and is intolerant of shade.

It occurs singly or mixed with other broadleaf species such as oak, ash, tulip-tree, maple and beech.

Its wood is soft and fairly weak. Although it has the advantage of being easily worked, it is too scarce to be used commercially.


Leaf

Photo - Leaf

Leaves, alternate, simple, may be oval-shaped.

Fruit

Photo - fruit

Fruits, cucumber-shaped, light green cones, enclosing large orange seeds.