Medeola virginiana

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Indian Cucumber-root
Medeola virginiana 4055.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Medeola
Species: M. virginiana
Binomial name
Medeola virginiana
Medeola virginiana NA-dist-map.png
Distribution map of Medeola virginiana
  • Gyromia acuminata Raf.
  • Gyromia cuneata Raf.
  • Gyromia virginica (Christm.) Nutt.
  • Gyromia virginica var. picta Nutt.
  • Medeola verticillifolia Stokes
  • Medeola virginica Christm.

Medeola virginiana or Indian Cucumber-root [2][3][4] is the only currently recognized plant species in the genus Medeola.[1][5]


Medeola virginiana occurs with either a single tier or two tiers of leaves. The upper tier consists of from three to five whorled leaves on the stem above a lower tier of five to nine (also whorled). Only the two-tiered plants produce flowers which are green-to-yellow and appear from May to June. When two-tiered, it grows up to 30 inches high. The waxy leaves are typically 2.5 inches long and about an inch wide, but can be as long as five inches. The leaves have an entire margin. It typically produces three dark blue to purple, inedible berries above the top tier of leaves in September.[5][6][7]


This plant produces a crisp, edible tuber that smells and tastes like garden cucumber. It is listed as an endangered plant in Florida and in Illinois.


Medeola virginiana is found from Minnesota to Nova Scotia, south to Florida, and to Louisiana. It grows in rich, moist woods. It is also reportedly naturalized in Bermuda.[8]


  1. ^ a b The Plant List
  2. ^ "Medeola virginiana". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  3. ^ Medeola virginiana at Connecticut Botanical Society
  4. ^ Medeola virginiana at USDA PLANTS Database
  5. ^ a b Flora of North America v 26 p 150
  6. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 339.
  7. ^ Gleason, H. A. & A.J. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (ed. 2) i–910. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx.
  8. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families

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