Flower of the Day: Indian Cucumber Root




Medeola virginiana




This low-growing woodland native – the only species in the genus Medeola – ranges from the eastern US (and Canada) to just the other side of the Mississippi River.  It’s endangered in Florida and Illinois.


A single whorl of five to nine leaves appears atop a short stem (less than twelve inches); if the plant is going to flower, it will produce a second tier of three to five leaves, and blossoms arise from there.

Wish I had better pictures to share.  I’ve only ever seen the plant under deep canopy, and it seems every time I find it flowering, the sky is overcast.  I’ve never been able to shoot in in decent light.


4 thoughts on “Flower of the Day: Indian Cucumber Root

  1. Are these still blooming now? This has been a favorite plant of mine since I was introduced to it in a field biology course way (way, way) back in high school. They told us about the root, but it never occurred to me that the plant would have such an interesting flower (or in fact, that it would flower at all). Now I need to see this!

  2. I’m not sure if they’re still blooming; I saw them blooming on May 11 and May 28 on the Cabin John Trail, about a mile upstream of the MacArthur Blvd parking lot. I haven’t been back since 5/28.

    • Thanks. I’ll look for them this weekend, and if no luck, will put them on my list for next May. Your blog: part useful wildflower facts, part beautiful photos, part fun scavenger hunt instructions to give me focus on the trails!

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