Medeola virginiana L. - Indian Cucumber Root


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Medeola virginiana - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Liliaceae


Moist, acid woodland. Bogs


In woodlands with Acer rubrum, Aralia nudicaulis, Aster macrophyllus, Fagus grandifolia, Hamamelis virginiana, Lindera benzoin, Maianthemum canadense, Maianthemum racemosum, Mitchella repens, Prenanthes alba.


MN to LA and all states east.


Perennial from a pearly white, tuber-like rhizome. Leaves in two whorls; lower leaves 5-11 per whorl, acuminate, oblanceolate; upper leaves typically 3 per whorl, ovate, acuminate, reddish at the base. Flowers 3-9 in a terminal umbel; pedicels reddish; tepals 6, greenish-yellow, recurved; styles 3, recurved. Fruit a dark purple or black berry.


Flowers May to early July

Wetland indicator: Facultative

The small, white tubers are crunchy and taste like cucumber. Collecting is not a good idea given the size of the tuber and the fact that this species is not usually abundant. It is listed as endangered in IL and FL.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.





 Michael Hough 2005