Herb: Wild Cucumber

Latin name: Streptopus amplexifolius

Synonyms: Streptopus distortus, Uvularia amplexifolia

Family: Convallariaceae

Medicinal use of Wild Cucumber:

The fruit is cathartic. An infusion of the stems and fruit has been used to treat "sickness in general". The plant is tonic. An infusion of the whole plant has been used to treat stomach complaints and loss of appetite. A compound infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of spitting up of blood, kidney problems and gonorrhoea. The root has been chewed in order to induce labour in cases of protracted delay. A compound infusion of the root has been used as an analgesic in the treatment of internal pain.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Wet sub-alpine woods. Moist woods and thickets

Edible parts of Wild Cucumber:

Fruit - raw or cooked in soups and stews. Juicy with a cucumber flavour, they are reported to be slightly cathartic when growing in certain areas only. The fruit is laxative if eaten in large quantities according to another report. The oval berry is up to 15mm long. Tender young shoots - raw in salads or cooked like asparagus. A cucumber-like flavour. Root - raw. It is sometimes used in salads for its cucumber flavour.

Other uses of the herb:

The plant has been tied to the clothes, body or hair and used as a scent.

Propagation of Wild Cucumber:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as soon as it is received. The seed, especially if it has been stored, can be very slow to germinate, sometimes taking 18 months or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady part of the greenhouse or cold frame. It will normally take 2 or more growing seasons before the roots are large enough to plant out - this is best done when the plant is dormant in the autumn. Division as the plant comes into growth in early spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first year, planting them out in the following spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Wet sub-alpine woods. Moist woods and thickets

Known hazards of Streptopus amplexifolius:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.