|USDA Distribution map|
Medeola virginiana, Indian cucumber-root (or Indian cucumber, or Indian cucumber root, or Cuke root), is an eastern North American plant species in the lily family, Liliaceae. It is the only currently recognized plant species in the genus Medeola. Indian cucumber-root grows in the understory of forests. The plant bears edible rhizomes that have a mild cucumber-like flavor.
Medeola virginiana shoots consist of two tiers of whorled leaves. The lower tier typically bears between five and nine (occasionally up to 12) lance shaped leaves. The upper tier bears three to five ovate leaves. The leaves have an entire (smooth) margin. Some individuals lack a second tier of whorled leaves. The second tier is produced when the plant flowers. When two-tiered, plants grow to 30 in (76 cm) high. The flowers have yellowish green tepals and appear in late spring. The fruit is a dark blue to purple, inedible berry above the top tier of leaves. Indian cucumber-root shoots arise each spring from an overwintering tuberlike structure. This structure produces a series of horizontal rhizomes at 45 degree angles which produces a clonal colony of plants in an octagonal pattern.
Taxonomy and systematics
The genus Medeola was formerly associated with the lilioid genera Trillium and Paris, which are now placed in the tribe Paridae of the family Melanthiaceae in the order Liliales. Armen Takhtajan separated Medeola from these, and placed it in its own family, Medeolaceae, which he erected in 1987, based on a description that had been published in 1879 by Sereno Watson. The genera Medeola and Clintonia now constitute the tribe Medeoleae of the subfamily Lilioideae in the family Liliaceae, as narrowly defined in the APG IV system. Molecular, morphological, embryological, and cytological evidence supports a sister relationship between Medeola and Clintonia. The Flora of North America includes both of these in the family Liliaceae.
- Medeola angustifolia now Asparagus asparagoides
- Medeola asparagoides now Asparagus asparagoides
- Medeola latifolia now Asparagus asparagoides
- Medeola triphylla now Asparagus declinatus
- Medeola virginiana at United States Department of Agriculture plants profile
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- "Medeola virginiana". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
- Medeola virginiana at Connecticut Botanical Society
- Flora of North America v 26 p 150
- Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 339.
- 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.
- Cook, Robert. "Growth in Medeola Virginiana Clones: I. Field Observations". American Journal of Botany. 75 (5): 725–31. doi:10.2307/2444204. JSTOR 2444204.
- A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America by Lee Peterson, Roger Tory Peterson
- Moerman, Daniel (1986). Medicinal Plants of Native America. University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology.
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|Wikiversity has bloom time data for Medeola virginiana on the Bloom Clock|