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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Liliaceae

22. Medeola Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 339. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 158. 1754.

Indian cucumber-root, concombre sauvage, jarnotte [for Medea, mythical sorceress]

Frederick H. Utech

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).


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.

Lower Taxon


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