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Indian cucumber
Medeola virginiana two tiered.jpg
Medeola virginiana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Tribe: Medeoleae
Genus: Medeola
L. 1753
Species: M. virginiana
Binomial name
Medeola virginiana
L. 1753
Medeola virginiana NA-dist-map.png
USDA Distribution map[1]
  • 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 is a North American plant species in the lily family.[1][3][4] It is the only currently recognized plant species in the genus Medeola.[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.[8]


Medeola virginiana is found from Ontario to Nova Scotia, south to Florida, and Louisiana. It grows in rich, moist woods. It is also reportedly naturalized in Bermuda.[2]

It is listed as an endangered plant in Florida and in Illinois.

formerly included[2]

Several names have been created within the genus referring to species now considered better suited to other genera. We provide links to help you find appropriate information. see Asparagus


  1. ^ a b Medeola virginiana at United States Department of Agriculture plants profile
  2. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ "Medeola virginiana". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  4. ^ Medeola virginiana at Connecticut Botanical Society
  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. ^ A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America by Lee Peterson, Roger Tory Peterson

External links[edit]