They might look like mere bumps -- weird growths that may cause a novice to think that a star magnolia tree has a problem -- but they're actually star magnolia seed pods.
In the picture, taken in September in my zone 5 landscape, the orange seeds have already begun to burst out, helping us to identify the "bump" as a seed pod. But as long as the star magnolia seeds remained inside, the pod appeared to be little more than a curious amorphous mass.
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