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Maianthemum dilatatum (False lily of the valley)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Maianthemum dilatatum

Maianthemum dilatatum (Alph. Wood) A. Nelson & J.F. Macbr.

False Lily Of The Valley, May Lily, Canada Mayflower

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Maianthemum bifolium ssp. kamtschaticum, Maianthemum bifolium var. kamtschaticum, Maianthemum kamtschaticum


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

An erect stalk, 2-4 in. high, bears two broad, glossy-green, heart-shaped leaves and a terminal, spiky cluster of tiny, white flowers. Subsequent berries are red. Since each stalk comes from an extensive, horizontal, underground root system, a single plant can, in time, produce hundreds of above-ground triads - two leaves and a flower cluster. Grows in the low patches and has slender racemes of tiny white flowers held stiffly erect just above heart-shaped leaves.

The genus name, from the Greek maios ("May") and anthemon ("flower"), refers to time of flowering. This plant, which spreads by underground roots, makes an attractive ground cover in woodland gardens.


From the Image Gallery

1 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 18 inches tall when flowering.
Fruit: Red

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul


USA: AK , CA , ID , OR , WA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: Northwestern North America from Alaska south to Marin County, California and northern Idaho, and northeastern Eurasia
Native Habitat: Moist, shaded stream banks & woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist soils.
Conditions Comments: An extremely aggressive ground cover that should be used with caution as it "seems happiest when invading areas where it is not wanted." Will grow in nutrient poor sites.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Propagate by rhizome division or seed. Plant seeds fresh (when berries turn red) in late summer
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Maianthemum dilatatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Maianthemum dilatatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Maianthemum dilatatum


Record Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: TWC Staff

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