Indian Cucumber Root - Medeola virginiana

Text and Pictures by Karen Major

The Indian Cucumber Root grows 15 -60 cm tall on one or several slender, unbranched stems.  These stems come from brown underground rhizomes up to 3 cm thick.  The leaves grow in a whorl of 3 and are short-stalked and are diamond shaped to rounded, pointed at the tip and 4 -15 cm long.  The flowers are white, rarely pink, and are about 3 cm wide.  They nod under the upper whorl of leaves and bloom from May to June depending on climate zone.  The fruits are red to purplish-blue, egg-shaped and appear late June to July.  They like  moist to fresh sandy or clay soils. They are intolerant to environments of mixed hardwoods and eastern  white cedar-yellow birch stands, as well as hardwood swamp environments.

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