Maianthemum racemosum (False Solomon's Seal)
|Also known as:
|Solomon's Plume, Feathery False Lily-of-the-Valley
|Ruscaceae (Butcher's Broom)
|part shade, shade; woods
|May - June
|1 to 3 feet
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|GP: FAC MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Plume-like cluster 3 to 5 inches long and about 2 inches across of up to 80 star-shaped flowers. Individual flowers are 1/8-inch across, made up of 3 white petals and 3 petal-like sepals so it looks like 6 petals. The stamen tips are cream colored or pale yellow.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 3 inches across, oval and pointed at the tip. There is little or no leaf stalk. The leaf edges are a bit wavy but otherwise smooth. Leaves are hairy underneath and have heavy parallel veins. The stem is not upright, but grows at an angle or arcing, the flower cluster often rising as if seeking the sun. The stem is finely hairy and typically zig-zags between the alternately attached leaves.
Just looking at the leaves, False Solomon's Seal, Smooth Solomon's Seal and Starry False Solomon's Seal are all similar. Starry False Solomon's Seal prefers sunnier habitats, has fewer, larger flowers, plus its stem is often more upright and its leaves are more narrow and stiffer than False Solomon's Seal. Smooth Solomon's Seal has racemes of flowers on the underside of the arcing stem, rather than a plume at the end. False Solomon's Seal often goes by Latin name Smilacina racemosa but the accepted name in Minnesota is Maianthemum racemosum; there are 2 recognized subspecies with subsp. racemosum found in Minnesota. Formerly in the Liliaceae (Lily) family, all Maianthemum species have been reassigned to Ruscaceae (Butcher's Broom).
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?