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“Indian” Cucumber Root
Medeola virginiana

I wish the name could be changed – I put Indian in quotations, but if I just called it Cucumber Root that’s incorrect.

So, this plant got it’s name because Native Americans ate the crispy, white underground rhizomes, which taste a bit like cucumber. However this plant is not that abundant, so you should not collect and consume yourself.

The genus name (Medeola) refers to the sorceress Medea from Greek mythology; this is apparently a reference to the plant’s medicinal uses.

Size: 12-30" tall
Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Habitat: Shady moist forests, including acidic cove and oak-hickory forests in eastern North America.
Identification: Leaves are whorled with pointed tips, with two tiers of leaves. Plants that have the 2nd tier will flower. The upper whorl overhangs the yellow flower, much like Mayapple. The fruit is in the center of three whorled leaves that are colored red in the center and is a purple-black berry. It is very striking! Flowers April-June, fruits September-October
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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