The monotypic (3) Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana) is a tall, herbaceous (4), perennial plant (3), which is named after the cucumber-like taste of its rhizomes (2) (5).
The Indian cucumber root has two whorls of leaves (2) (3) (5) (6). The lower whorl is positioned half-way up the stem (7) and has between 5 and 11 leaves (2) (3) (5) (6), which are described as being slightly lance shaped and somewhat oblong (5), tapering to a sharp point at each end (6). The upper whorl is at the top of the stem (7) and has three leaves (2) (3) (5), which are slightly smaller than those on the lower whorl and become red in the centre during autumn (2). The stems of the mature Indian cucumber root are unbranched (6) and hairy (3) (6), while younger stems are white and have a slightly woolly appearance (7).
The drooping (4) yellow or green-yellow flowers of the Indian cucumber root (2) (3) (4) (5) (7) are positioned below the upper leaf whorl (3) and may be slightly hidden by the leaves (4). There are usually between three and nine flowers per plant (3) (5) and each flower has three long, brown styles in the centre which curve outwards (3). The stamens of the Indian cucumber root are reddish (4) and the fruit is a dark purplish-black berry (2) (3) (5).
- Height: 30 - 75 cm (2)