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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
Synonyms: Smilacina racemosa
USDA Symbol: marar
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
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.
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
AK , AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV 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
PropagationPropagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Divide rhizomes early spring or fall and plant 2 inches deep.
Seed Collection: Approximate collection date in northern U.S.: September
Seed Treatment: If seeds are stored, cold-moist stratification (40 degrees for 3-4 months) is required. A cold-warm-cold treatment has also given good results.
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
May 05, 2009
We live on a lake with gravelly and clay soils, lots of wind and little sun. I am looking for a native ground cover that will help reduce erosion over some of the steep slopes facing south (under shad...
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From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Hinton, WV
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2010-04-24
Research By: TWC Staff