26 June 2015 – Indian Cucumber – Medeola virginiana

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Today, I spotted some Indian cucumber (Medeola virginiana L.) at Chestnut Oak Bog growing on a sphagnum moss hummock. One of the plants (pictured here) was blooming and was setting seed. This interesting looking member of the family Liliaceae is found in Eastern North America from Ontario and Quebec in the North, and Minnesota to Louisiana on the West. It grows up to 1 to 1.5 feet tall and has one or two whorls of leaves on the stem.

 

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Each plant has one stem. When it blooms, there are between 3 to 9 flowers at the summit of the stem with a whorl of leaves directly under. There is usually one more whorl of leaves further down the stem. The blooming period is in late spring to early summer and lasts about one month. The pedicels bearing the flowers become erect and develop purple-colored berries. Each berry contains several seeds.  The plant can also propagate into  colonies from rhizomes.

The plant like light to medium sun, and thrives in loamy soil containing decaying organic matter. The plant is named after its cucumber-like tasting root.

 

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