Forage Friday #112 – Indian Cucumbers

Hello Friends! Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Indian Cucumber In Bloom 61521” and is available for purchase by clicking the thumbnail and reaching out to me on the contact page.

Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.  Furthermore, please remember to respect landowners and public parks when foraging. Always obtain permission from landowners and keep in mind that most parks strictly forbid foraging.

Just beyond the edge of the tall forest there’s a place where the light is not too bright but not too dim. It’s in this area that the Indian Cucumbers grow. They love rich open forest. However, they’re not really abundant everywhere so they should only be harvested when found in abundance. And if you have access to  land where they grow well it might be worth learning how to propagate them.

Image shows Indian Cucumbers flourishing in open forest.

Most of my sources say that the tubers are the part that you can eat although one source stated that the leaves are also edible. The flavor is like a Cucumber. I’m not really a big fan of Cucumbers myself but have sampled this root in the past and I found that it’s a little milder than a real Cucumber. The tubers are about the size of most people’s pinky finger which makes it worth a harvest if found in sufficient numbers. 

Medicinally the Indian Cucumber is said to have anticonvulsant properties and was as such by Native Americans and specifically for children.

Indian Cucumber growing near a colony of ferns. They seem to enjoy the same growing conditions.  Notice the whorl of leaves at the base.

In August Indian Cucumber will have purplish waxy berries. A few sources say that Indian Cucumber has no wildlife value but I suspect that pheasants and Turkeys may disagree. Nevertheless, because the plant isn’t really found in great numbers this is one that I would consider for a wild edibles garden or even a Guerilla Garden in the Eastern United States. ( If you plan to Guerilla Garden please select native plants and avoid invasive species. )The recommended method is to collect the ripe berries and start them in a cold frame. When you re-wild them try to memic the growth patterns they were found in. They are usually found in loose colonies with a clump of plants here and there in rich sandy soil. When collecting the seeds look up and around. Take note of the trees and other companion plants that were present with the parent plants. This last part is a good idea for any wild plants you’re going to propagate. As noted in last night’s post about Indian Pipes many wild plants require a combination of fungus and trees to do well. If a section of forest has the same trees, shrubs and soil then it’s likely that the fungus is there too. The symbiotic fungus is going to actively be searched for new connections and will likely bond to the new plants. And even if you’re like me and don’t really care for the Cucumber flavor this is a native species that should be preserved for the future. That’s it for tonight’s Forage Friday!

Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.

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3 thoughts on “Forage Friday #112 – Indian Cucumbers

  1. Enjoyed hearing about the medicinal and eating qualities of the Indian Cucumber, which I had never heard of previously. Pheasants and turkeys have good taste! 😊 Abundant overflowing blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

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