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
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
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
The 1-4 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 Solomon's seals (Polygonatum spp.), which have pendulous, axillary, bell-like flowers. The rhizome lacks the seal-like pattern of the true Solomon's 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 Solomon's 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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Arching stems up to about 4 feet long.
Flower: Flowers in 1 to 4 inch clusters. Individual flowers tiny.
Fruit: Red, in 1 to 4 inch clusters.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: 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 , MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , 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
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: 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 plant's 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 Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-17
Research By: TWC Staff