The Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is the state flower of Louisiana. In Mississippi this tree species serves as both the state tree and state flower. The leaves of this tree are "leathery" (ie fairly thick and somewhat wavy) and measure about seven to nine inches long. This tree is an evergreen but the previous years leafs fold back, turn brown and then fall off after the new leaves grow out in the spring.
The creamy white flowers of the Southern Magnolia have a tulip like shape that grows upright or at a slight angle. As the large round petals fold back they reveal the "fruit" that will grow into a pear sized seed pod.
Eventually as the soft white petals turn a sort of tan color and fall off leaving only the newly forming "fruit" in the place of the flower.
It is not uncommon for this seed pod to be confused for some sort of exotic edible fruit by those who are not familiar with this tree species. From this picture below you can see how the seed pod of the Southern Magnolia could be mistakenly identified as a tropical fruit.
This tropical fruit looking seed pod then undergoes a radical transformation as a number are bright red seeds begin to emerge from within as if they were being squeezed out and expelled. At the same time the pod begins to turn brown and dry up. Eventually a good number of the seeds will fall out and then the entire pod will snap off and fall to the ground although this may happen months later.