Maianthemum racemosum (False Solomon's Seal)
|Also known as:||Solomon's Plume, Feathery False Lily-of-the-Valley|
|Family:||Ruscaceae (Butcher's Broom)|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; woods|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||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.
Fruit is a cluster of waxy berries, each 1/8 inch across, that turn bright red when ripe.
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?
on: 2013-08-06 19:14:03
I spotted this one today with ripe fruit while walking the Norwegian Ridge Birding and Nature Trail in Spring Grove (Houston County).
on: 2016-06-08 20:03:18
I have these scattered throughout my hill amoung hundreds of other green plants. The gold berries at the end of the season are unique and frequently I'll include them in a bouquet.
on: 2016-08-26 21:43:43
Found a healthy-looking plant with a large bunch of still-mottled berries, in a mostly deciduous, dense woods high above the St. Louis River, and slightly inland. This area is still free of invasive.
on: 2019-06-09 23:16:35
I live on 20 acres of an oak forest. Found a large group of these in a back yard that I leave wild. Have been trying to weed out all but native plants. This long, wet spring has given us all sorts of new plants,
on: 2020-02-13 03:08:51
These grow in our yard
on: 2020-05-07 19:20:35
Many now out with rest of ephemeral family, jack in pulpits
on: 2020-06-01 17:36:52
In the oak forest. In bloom right now.
on: 2021-05-13 19:08:34
Many blooming now along with the bedstraw.