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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum
Maianthemum racemosum (L.) Link ssp. racemosum
Feathery false lily of the valley, False spikenard, False Solomon's seal, Solomon's plume, Smilacina
Synonym(s): Convallaria racemosa, Smilacina ciliata, Smilacina flexicaulis, Smilacina racemosa, Smilacina racemosa var. cylindrata, Smilacina racemosa var. lanceolata, Smilacina racemosa var. typica, Vagnera australis, Vagnera racemosa
USDA Symbol: marar
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
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 subspecies amplexicaule, with longer flower clusters and shorter leaves than the eastern subspecies. 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.
1 to 4 inch clusters Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
, WV Canada: BC
, QC Native Distribution:
N.S. to AK,
s. in the east to GA
in the west through mts. to AZ
& s. CA Native Habitat:
Woods; clearings; bluffs
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, WVPrairie Nursery
- Westfield, WI
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:
Mt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-20
Research By: TWC Staff