Herbs, perennial, from tapered, white, tuberlike, horizontal rhizomes. Stems simple, slender. Leaves in 2 whorls; proximal blades oblong-oblanceolate, base attenuate, margins entire, apex acuminate; distal blades ovate, rounded at base, apex acuminate. Inflorescences terminal, umbellate, (2-) 3-9-flowered, sessile. Flowers: tepals caducous, 6, similar, recurved, distinct; stamens 6; anthers versatile, oblong, extrorse; ovary superior, 3-locular; styles 3, recurved, distinct to base, often purple; pedicel declined or spreading in flower, erect in fruit. Fruits baccate, dark purple to black, globose. Seeds few, shiny brown, subglobose. x = 7.
Species 1: e North America.
Medeola was removed from its long association with Trillium and Paris (tribe Parideae) when A. L. Takhtajan (1987, 1997) created the monotypic Medeolaceae, placing it next to a strictly defined Liliaceae. M. N. Tamura (1998c) included Medeola and Clintonia in the tribe Medeoloideae within a narrowly defined Liliaceae. The association of Medeola and Clintonia is supported by molecular analysis (K. Hayashi et al. 1998, 2001; T. B. Patterson and T. J. Givnish 1998) as well as morphology (R. Y. Berg 1962; M. Takahashi 1984; F. H. Utech 1978e), embryology (R. Y. Berg 1962b), and cytology (R. M. Stewart and R. Bamford 1942; M. N. Tamura 1995).
The Genus Medeola is further organized into finer groupings including:
- Species: ZipcodeZoo has pages for 8 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in the Genus Medeola: M. aculeata · M. angustifolia · M. asparagoides (Bridal-Creeper) · M. latifolia · M. triphylla · M. verticillifolia · M. virginiana (Indian Cucumber Root) · M. virginica
- Bell, A. D. 1974. Rhizome organization in relation to vegetative spread in Medeola virginiana. J. Arnold Arbor. 55: 458-468.
- Berg, R. Y. 1962. Morphology and taxonomic position of Medeola, Liliaceae. Skr. Norske Vidensk.-Akad. Oslo, Mat.-Naturvidensk. Kl., n. s. 3: 1-56.
- Berg, R. Y. 1962b. Contribution to the comparative embryology of the Liliaceae: Scoliopus, Trillium, Paris and Medeola. Skr. Norske Vidensk.-Akad. Oslo, Mat.-Naturvidensk. Kl., n. s. 4: 1-64.
- Utech, F. H. 1978e. Floral vascular anatomy of Medeola virginiana L. (Liliaceae-Parideae = Trilliaceae) and tribal note. Ann. Carnegie Mus. 47: 13-28.
- Frederick H. Utech "Medeola". in Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 15, 51, 56, 150, 152. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org.
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