Indian Cucumber Root

“The more things thou learnest to know and enjoy the more complete and full will be for thee the delight of living”  ~Phalen



The other day I was out walking with Caleb and I saw these plants in the woods.  I bent down to look at them closely and wondered what they were.  I had not noticed them before.  There were about 20 growing all together in one patch, and I also saw more of them growing in the other parts of the woods.

Later on that day, I got out my Eastern Wildflowers identification book to look up a different flower, when lo and behold, I opened the book right to the page with the mysterious plant from earlier in the day!  It was an Indian Cucumber Root.  I read this:

“The root, 2-3″ long, has a brittle texture and tastes and smells somewhat like cucumber.  It was used by Native Americans for food, but digging it for such purposes today is not recommended because the plant is scarce.”

So, I called to Ethan in great excitement and we went out to dig one up!  There were so many, that I didn’t think it would do any harm to study one.

This is what the root looked like:


We brought it home, washed it (it was pure white!), sliced it long-ways to smell it (it really did smell like a cucumber) and then Ethan, Jacob, Grace, and I all had a bite.  It was crunchy and the texture was better than the taste (it was bland, but good). 

Whenever we find something new, I write about it briefly in our book:


We have also recently tasted cattail.

There is so much to discover, and  I think that almost every time we go outside, I see something new.  God is amazing!


0 thoughts on “Indian Cucumber Root

  1. The kids and I were just reading about what Native Americans ate for food, so interesting that you found it!  I love turning books into journals in the margins, a great way to remember!

  2. That quote is so true – life is made so much fuller and more enjoyable by LEARNING. What a neat experience for you and the kids to identify and even taste a plant together! Would you recommend a field book for me or share the name of the one you use for your journaling? I like the idea of writing right into the book – so simple and easy!Your blog is always inspiring for nature!

  3. It’s fun to walk out your front door and find something new and interesting.  I like your idea of journaling!  You really do have an adventurous spirit–what did the cattail taste like?

  4. Great idea, you do well in making a discovery also an adventure. Love the idea of journaling in your book. I have an old history book and it has notes from a young boy back during WWI…it makes the book even more special. I think that is a good study to see what is available to forage for food!

  5. I just posted pictures, this morning, of green things and shadows. Your green, shadowed picture is much more lush than mine!!!! Who knows what you’ll find in the woods????!!!! LOL

  6. It’s so fun to discover new things…I remember discovering fresh mint outside as a kid, and we’d rip the leaves and smell it and oooh and mmm over how nice it smelled. šŸ™‚

  7. Awesome. I have to go dig around our woods now and see if we have these. I love cattail pancakes. I haven’t thought of that in years. This was a wonderful post.

  8. I like to find out the names and uses of plants as well.  I had a wildflower come up in my front flower bed and found that it was used by the Indian’s for herbal healing for stomach ailments.  I didn’t test it. 

  9. Shanda…..I’m always amazed at how much you slow down and enjoy your life. Can you please share with us how you can manage to do that amidst all the crazy piles of laundry, cleaning, cooking etc etc etc. Or do you always keep up on all that stuff so well that walks and nature studies totally just fit into your life? PLEASE SHARE!!!

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