Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Maianthemum canadense Desf.
Canada mayflower, False lily-of-the-valley
Synonyms: Unifolium canadense
USDA Symbol: maca4
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
The short, often zigzag stem has a small, dense, cluster of tiny, white, star-shaped flowers at its top and 1-3 ovate leaves. A low plant, only 3-6 in. tall, false lily-of-the-valley blankets woodlands with its two shiny, oval leaves. In bloom, tiny, white flowers are held in upright clusters on separate, delicate stems. The fruit is a small, pale red berry. The Latin name, Maianthemum, means May blossom - an appropriate name because the plant flowers in May.
This common forest herb spreads by rhizomes and frequently forms carpet-like colonies. An unusual member of the Lily Family, it has only 2 petals, 2 sepals, and 4 stamens instead of the usual 3-3-6 pattern. A somewhat similar plant, Three-leaved Solomons Seal (Maianthemum trifolium), usually has 3 elliptic leaves which taper at the base and white floral parts in a 6-pointed, star-like pattern. It is found in wet, boggy, or mossy areas from New Jersey west to Minnesota and north into Canada.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Fruit:
Red Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun
CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV , WY Canada: MB
, PE Native Distribution:
Lab. to Man. & Carter Co., MT, s. to DE, PA, upland GA & TN, IN, n.e. IA & WY Native Habitat: Deciduous
& mixed woods; floodplains; bog margins USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement:
Part Shade , Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist , Wet Soil pH:
Acidic (pH<6.8) Soil Description:
Moist to mesic, humus-rich soils. Conditions Comments:
A useful woodsgarden plant which increases rapidly to form an extensive ground cover. A wintercover of leaves or needles should be provided. Slowly spreads to form a colony. Pale red fruit
in fall. (Ontario Native
In folklore, the root may have been used as a good luck charm. Native
Americans are reported to have used the plant for headache and sore throats (Andy Fyon) Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationDescription: In the fall, after leaves have yellowed, divide the rhizomes into 2 in. pieces. Set 6 in. apart, 1/2 in. deep, and mulch. To propagate by seed, collect the fruits in summer, separate the pulp and plant immediately outdoors, 1/3 in. deep.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Delaware Nature Society
- Hockessin, DE
Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.
View Recommended Species page
Record Modified: 2009-11-23
Research By: TWC Staff