Nature Center of Charleston
Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum (L.) Link
Feathery false lily of the valley, False spikenard, False Solomon's seal, Solomon's plume, Smilacina
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
The 1-3 ft., arching, unbranched stems of this widespread perennial
bear two rows of elliptic
leaves. A many-flowered raceme
is at the tip of the stem
and is made up of tiny, white flowers. Berries ripen to a pink-red in autumn. Each branched rhizome
bears one to several stems. As a landscaping plant, it is most effective when planted in groups of six or more stalks.
The feathery, creamy-white masses of flowers borne at the end of the stem
distinguish this species from the true Solomons seals (Polygonatum
spp.), which have pendulous, axillary,
bell-like flowers. The rhizome
lacks the seal-like pattern of the true Solomons seals, but exhibits circular stem
scars. The usual western form is var. amplexicaulis
with longer flower clusters and shorter leaves than the eastern variety. A smaller species, Star-flowered Solomons Seal (M. stellatum
), found throughout the East except for the coastal states from North Carolina to Texas, has a raceme
of larger star-shaped flowers, 1/4 (6 mm) long, leaves clasping stem,
and larger berries; at first the berries are striped with blackish red, eventually becoming completely blackish red.
Image Gallery: 9 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Flower:
Flowers in 1 to 4 inch clusters. Individual flowers tiny.
Red In 1 to 4 inch clusters Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
AL , AK , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC , ND , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC Canada: BC
, QC Native Distribution:
N.S. to AK, s. in the east to GA & TX, in the west through mts. to AZ & s. CA Native Habitat:
Woods; clearings; bluffs USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist Soil pH:
Acidic (pH<6.8) Cold Tolerant:
Deep, humus-rich, acid soils. Conditions Comments:
Though it prefers moist, deciduous
woods, this plant is also found, in a stunted form, growing in drier, shallower soils or open spaces.
BenefitUse Ornamental: A good shade plant with late spring blossoms.
Use Wildlife: Birds and small mammals eat this plants berries. Deer browse leaves.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: No