Medeola virginiana L.
Indian Cucumber, Indian Cucumber-root
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
USDA Symbol: MEVI
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Purple, Blue
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Loam, Sand
BenefitUse 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
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Medeola virginiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Medeola virginiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Medeola virginiana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2014-08-20
Research By: TWC Staff