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Indian Cucumber-Root Medeola virginiana

Phonetic Spelling
med-EE-oh-luh vir-jin-ee-AN-uh
Description

Medeola virginiana, commonly called Indian cucumber root, is a slender, upright perennial wildflower that typically grows 1-2.5’ tall on a single, unbranched stem rising up each year from a crisp, edible rhizome. It is native to rich moist woodlands with acidic soil in eastern North America. Leaves that grow below fruit develop red areas on the surface, matching the color of the dark fruit.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fall color#wildlife plant#fall interest#small mammals#NC native#whorled#woodland#edible roots#edible garden#native wildflower#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#food source soft mast fruit#Coastal FACU#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fall color#wildlife plant#fall interest#small mammals#NC native#whorled#woodland#edible roots#edible garden#native wildflower#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#food source soft mast fruit#Coastal FACU#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Medeola
    Species:
    virginiana
    Family:
    Liliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada to Eastern Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    Canada to Florida in moist, deciduous woods
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds.
    Edibility:
    The thickened rootstalk of this plant may be eaten raw, resembling somewhat the taste of cucumber. It may also be used in salads. Although Native Americans used the rootstalk for food, this is no longer recommended because plants are becoming quite scarce in many regions.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Purple/Lavender
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Dark blue berries with red pedicel- inedible. Fruits are available September-October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Nodding yellow-green flower on top of a slender, woolly unbranched stem; petals and sepals curve backward. Flowers bloom April-June
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Upper whorl of three 1-3 in. leaves; lower whorl of 6-10 leaves, 2.5-5 in. long; all are ovate to lanceolate. They become purple-tinged when in fruit.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    White
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    White hairy when young
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds