As promised, this is what the gorgeous magnolia fruit looks like. The kernels look so much like corn, it’s uncanny! I mentioned it before, the southern magnolia tree is nothing less than amazing. It looks so tropical, because it kind of is, but will not be damaged by harsh winters up to zone 4 and on a bright winter day with lots of snow, try to picture this bright red fruit for contrast.
While it ripens, the artichoke shaped fruit turns from chartreuse to a very delicate shade of pink after which it dries up and the seeds start popping out. Here is an unripened fruit:
I always thought the bright red seeds were great to use in a child craft project, or as a centerpiece in a crystal bowl. Unfortunately the seeds have a high water content and will not last very long. The seeds provide food for little mammals and birds, so I would not think they are toxic. About 50% of them will germinate, so if you want to try your hand at growing your very own magnolia grandiflora from seed, go ahead. The plant will take about 11 years to bear fruit, and in northern states will most likely grow into a bush rather than a tree.