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|Immature Magnolia Fruit|
Question: This same magnolia appears to have a space alien growing at the tip of one of the branches. Is this a gall? Will it harm the tree?
Answer: Though this structure does bear some likeness to the star of the movie Alien, it is in fact an immature fruit of the magnolia tree. It is somewhat unusual for the Saucer Magnolia to produce fruit. When they do, they are often irregular like this one as well as infertile.
The following website shows the various stages of development from flower bud to ripe seed in Magnolia. Unfortunately, the page is accompanied by some fairly tacky muzac, so turn your sound down and click on:
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Last updated: 7 July 2001/tlm.
The Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University.