Ontario Wildflowers website

Indian Cucumber Root
Medeola virginiana

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana) Other common names: Indian Cucumber

Family: Lily Family (Liliaceae), (Lily-of-the-Valley Family (Convallariaceae))

Distinctive features: Whorls of leaves. Yellow flowers hanging down.

Similar species:
  •   Starflower (Lysimachia borealis) - has small white flowers, not hanging down.

Flowers: Summer;  Yellow;  6 parts (petals);  Yellow, small, hanging down. Usually only a few per palnt.

Leaves: Simple (smooth-edged), in one or more whorls.

Height: 20-40 cm (8-16 in)

Stem: Weak and thin.

Habitat: Forests;  Open woods and forest. It doesn't like a lot of light, but neither does it like to grow in deep shade.

Uses: The tubers (roots) are edible raw. They taste somewhat like cucumber. It's not overly common, so please only harvest it where it is plentiful.

Edible: Roots are edible raw or cooked. Taste like cucumber. However, they are very small.

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 352    Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers: 102    ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario: 75   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Locally common.

Photography notes: The flowers are sometimes tough to photograph as they are usually draped with spider webs!

Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: virginiana: of Virginia, Virginian

Photographs: 149 photographs available, of which 10 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

The yellow flowers. They normally hang down but when they first start to bloom, the flowers are still pointing somewhat up.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Closer view of a single flower.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Indian Cucumber Root flowers are quite beautiful.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Notice the spider webs. Indian Cucumber Root flwoers are frequently draped with these.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

A Indian Cucumber Root flower with misshapen stamens.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Indian Cucumber Root normally grows to about 8-16" tall.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Here is a photo of a complete plant (pulled from the ground).

The tuberous root is at the lower left, the top of the plant is at the upper right.

Note that this plant has grown crooked. Normally the stalk is straight.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

The edible part of Indian Cucumber Root: the roots. They may be eaten raw or cooked like root vegetables. They don't require very much cooking.

Note small they are.

Eaten raw, they have a very fresh taste, like a very refined cucumber.

Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

Ripe Indian Cucumber Root fruit in mid-September.

Range map for Indian Cucumber Root (Medeola virginiana)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)