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Indian Cucumber Root Flowering & Fruiting

6-29-18 wild cucumberroot_U1A9795

Indian Cucumber Root, Medeola virginiana, lives up to its name, as its rhizomes have a mild cucumber taste. Equally as enticing are its flowers — delicate and oh so intricate.

This member of the Lily family has one whorl of leaves if it isn’t going to flower (too young or without enough energy to reproduce), and two if it is. If there are two whorls of leaves, look under the top whorl and you will find flowers unlike any other you have seen. The pale petals fold back and from the center emerge three long reddish styles and several purple stamens (reproductive parts). Occasionally the flowers are above the topmost leaves, but typically they are below.

The change in position that Indian Cucumber Root flowers undergo as they develop into fruit is as fascinating as their appearance. The pedicels, or stalks, of these flowers become more erect once the flowers have been pollinated and fertilized, to the point where the dark blue berries mature above the upper whorl of leaves. You can see both stages in this photograph (styles have yet to fall off the developing fruits).

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6 responses

  1. Tracylea Byford

    Bloodroot seeds are also ripening! I have pictures, but not sure how to attach them.

    July 2, 2018 at 9:48 am

  2. Jessica Penfield

    Hi Mary, This resembles my Nodding Trillium. Are they related? Jessica

    Sent from my iPhone


    July 2, 2018 at 9:48 am

    • Same order, but different family, genus and species!

      July 5, 2018 at 4:15 pm

  3. Sue Wetmore

    I think the plant is even more lovely in the fall when the dark berries are present and the raspberry colored ring is on the whorled leaves.
    Sue Wetmore

    July 2, 2018 at 10:41 am

  4. Alice Pratt

    Reminds me a little of a Passion Flower. PS…saw a Monarch on my Milkweed, yesterday. Today she was nectaring so quietly, so I got photos & a video…..hoping she lays many eggs in my very large patch of Milkweeds……I’ll be looking for leaf nibbles!

    July 2, 2018 at 11:34 am

  5. Cyrene Slegona

    Love the flower. It is amazing close up.

    July 2, 2018 at 12:09 pm

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