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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Medeola virginiana (Indian cucumber)
Cressler, Alan

Medeola virginiana

Medeola virginiana L.

Indian Cucumber, Indian Cucumber-root

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: MEVI

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Several nodding, yellowish-green flowers emerge from the center of a whorl of 3 leaves at the top of a slender, woolly, unbranched stem, on stalks that sometimes bend down below the leaves.

The root, 2-3 (5-7.5 cm) long and 1/2-1 (1.3-2.5 cm) wide is white, has a brittle texture, and tastes and smells somewhat like a cucumber. It was used by Indians for food, but digging it for such purposes today is not recommended because the plant is scarce. Birds are attracted to the fruit. At the time the berries turn bluish-purple, the cluster of leaves below them turns red at the lower half.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Purple, Blue
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia; south to Florida; west to Alabama and Louisiana; north to Minnesota.
Native Habitat: Moist woodlands.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Loam, Sand

Benefit

Use Food: The root tastes and smells somewhat like a cucumber. It was used by First Nations for food, but digging it for such purposes today is not recommended because the plant is scarce. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACU
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Additional resources

USDA: Find Medeola virginiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Medeola virginiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Medeola virginiana

Metadata

Record Modified: 2014-08-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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