This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
A slender erect unbranched herb, loosely provided with deciduous wool. Rootstock thick, white, tuber-like, with somewhat the odor and taste of cucumbers, the slender fibrous roots numerous. Leaves of flowering plants in 2 whorls (rarely 3 whorls); lower whorl of 4-10 oblong-lanceolate or obovate leaves; upper whorl of 3-5 ovate or oval leaves, subtending, like an involucre, the sessile umbel of small greenish yellow declined flowers. Perianth of 6 separate equal oblong recurved segments. Stamens 6, hypogynous; filaments slender, smooth, longer than the oblong extrorse anthers, the sacs laterally dehiscent. Ovary 3-celled; ovules several in each cavity; styles 3, recurved, stigmatic along the inner side. Berry globose, pulpy. [Name from Medea, a sorceress, referring to the supposed healing properties.]
A monotypic genus of eastern North America.
Medeola virginiana L. Sp. PI. 339. 1753.
Rootstock 1-3' long. Stem 1°-2 1/2° tall, bearing the lower whorl of leaves above the middle, or in flowerless plants at the summit; leaves of the lower whorl sessile, 2 1/2'-5' long, 1-2' wide, acuminate at the apex, narrowed at the base, 3-5-nerved and reticulate-veined; leaves of the upper whorl 1'-2' long, 1/2'-1' wide, short-petioled or sessile; umbel 2-9-flowered; pedicels filiform, 1' long or less, declined in flower, erect or ascending in fruit; perianth-segments 3"-5" long, obtuse; berry dark purple, 4-7" in diameter.