Maianthemum canadense (Canada Mayflower)
|Also known as:||Wild Lily-of-the-valley, False Lily-of-the-valley|
|Family:||Ruscaceae (Butcher's Broom)|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; woods|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||3 to 6 inches|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in a densely packed spike-like raceme 1 to 2½ inches long at the top of the stem. Individual flowers are about 3/8 inch across with 4 white petals that drop off soon after blooming, and 4 thick creamy tipped stamens that project out like the points of a star. One plant has a single cluster, though not all plants flower.
Leaves and stem:
Sterile plants have 1 leaf; fertile plants have 2 or occasionally 3 leaves of unequal size, with heart-shaped bases and pointed tips. The largest leaf is up to 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. There are feint stripes and parallel veins along the length of the leaf. Leaves are toothless and hairless. The main stem zig-zags between the alternately attached leaves.
Canada Mayflower is a common woodland spring wildflower, typically found growing in colonies of various sizes. 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 and Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional parks, Ramsey County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?