Medeola virginiana Indian cucumber root Liliaceae MEVI; Q, a; R, ev, h, t, w



Medeola (Accessed 4/2014).

Medeola virginiana is a perennial monocotyledon herb to about 50 cm tall, colonial from a thick white, horizontal, succulent tuber 3-8 cm long, stem 30-70 cm, slender, young stem usually wooly-hairy, persisting at leaf bases. 

Leaves in two whorls, the lower one with 5-11 leaves 6-12 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, lance-shaped, widest above middle, pointed at both ends, upper whorl with 3 leaves 3-6 cm long,1-4 cm wide, becoming red at base when in fruit; plants with only 1 whorl of leaves do not bloom. 

Flowers greenish-yellow, radially symmetrical, petals and sepals alike 3 each, 0.7 cm long, curling back, stamens purple, longer than petals, ovary superior, stigmas 3, dark red or green, 0.7-1.4cm long, fleshy, horn-like, curved outward; inflorescence of 3-9 flowers each on a slender stalk 1.5-2.5 cm long from top of stem, flower stalks becoming red; blooms May-June, insect pollinated. 

Fruit fleshy, dark purple to black, 0.6-0.8 cm wide, 3-parted; 6 seeds, 0.3 cm long; animal dispersed; matures Sept.-Oct. (Radford et al. 1968). 

Medeola virginiana.Frank Bramley. Copyright © 2015 New England Wild Flower

Medeola virginiana.Frank Bramley. Copyright © 2015 New England Wild Flower (Accessed 2/2015).

Wetland status: UPL. 

Frequency in NYC: Infrequent. 

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Rich, moist undisturbed forest herb layer. Shade tolerant, found growing under American beech.

Notes: Tuber is edible but consuming the tuber destroys the entire plant. Has been used medicinally as a diuretic (Fern 2004).