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Archive for September 1, 2011

Indian Cucumber Root

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Indian Cucumber Root  (Medeola virginiana) is a perennial woodland plant that’s hard to miss, whether it’s flowering or fruiting.  In May or June, when flowering, it has two tiers of leaves (only one if it’s not producing flowers).  The flower buds first appear above the top tier, but by the time they’ve matured, the yellowish-green nodding flowers are positioned below the top tier.  Once fertilized, the flowers begin to develop into fruits, and in so doing lose their droop.  The flower stalks, or pedicles, straighten so that the (inedible) purple-blue berries stand erect above the top tier of leaves.  This plant gets its common name from the cucumber-like taste and consistency of its tubers, or roots, but Indian Cucumber Root is not overly common so I don’t  encourage harvesting it.