NC Native Plant Society:
Plant Details

Medeola virginiana

Indian Cucumber-root, Indian Cucumber

Scientific Name:

Medeola virginiana



Species Epithet:


Common Name:

Indian Cucumber-root, Indian Cucumber

Plant Type


Life Cycle


Plant Family

Liliaceae (Lily Family)


NC Native

Invasive Status:



1-3 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

Yellow, Green


Part Shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:


Bloom Time:

April, May, June

Growing Area:

Mountains, Piedmont, Sandhills, Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

Moist forests, usually with acidic soils. Common in the mountains and foothills; fairly common in the remainder of the Piedmont. Generally uncommon in the eastern two-thirds of the Coastal Plain, but rare in the southeastern corner of the state. Essentially absent in the far eastern counties.

Leaf Arrangement:


Leaf Retention:


Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:


Life Cycle:


Wildlife Value:

Has some wildlife value

Landscape Value:

Suitable for home landscapes

State Rank:

S5: Secure (*Key)

Global Rank:

G5 - Secure (*Key)

Medeola virginiana is at its showiest in early autumn as clusters of bright purple fruits mature and the center of the top whorl of leaves turns crimson-red to attract birds to the fruits.

In September I always fail to get to the ripened fruits before some have been consumed.

Will Stuart

Blossoms have 6 pale green, strongly reflexed tepals and hang beneath the uppermost whorl of glossy-green leaves.

Will Stuart

Each blossom has 6 stamens and a protruding 3-branched style. The anther filaments and the 3-part style are a handsome crimson-purple when the flowers are fresh.

Will Stuart

Fading blossoms and swelling capsules.

Will Stuart

Immature fruit (berries) in late July

Haywood County, NC

Bettina Darveaux

Senescing plant in mid-October

Haywood County, NC

Bettina Darveaux


USDA PLANTS Database Record

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