Polygonatum pubescens (Hairy Solomon's Seal)

Plant Info
Also known as: Downy Solomon's Seal
Family:Ruscaceae (Butcher's Broom)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; average to moist soil; rich woods, thickets, wooded slopes
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:12 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals Flower shape: bell Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] 1 to 3 hanging, stalked flowers arising from most leaf axils, except the uppermost and lowest leaves. Each bell-shaped flower is ½ inch long and pale yellowish green with 6 short, flaring lobes. Stamens and styles are hidden inside the tube. The flowers are typically hidden under the leaves and may go unseen.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves and zig-zagging stem] Leaves are narrowly to broadly lance-elliptic, 2 to 5 inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide, toothless, blunt or tapering to a point at each end, and stalkless or nearly so. The upper surface is hairless with 3 to 9 prominent parallel veins and numerous faint veins between them.

[photo of leaf hairs] The underside has short, fine hairs along the minor veins. Stems are single, unbranched, mostly hairless, erect in the lower plant but arch as if top-heavy, the leafy part ascending to nearly parallel with the ground. The stem zig-zags some between the alternately attached leaves. 

Fruit: Fruit type: berry/drupe

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a blue-black berry ¼ to 1/3 inch in diameter that ripens in summer.


Hairy Solomon's Seal may grow in the same woodland habitat as the related Smooth Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum), but is usually a rather smaller plant with smaller flowers. It is further distinguished by the fine hairs on the leaf underside, where Smooth Solomon's Seal leaves are hairless, and only 1 to 3 flowers in each axil where Smooth Solomon's Seal may have up to 12 flowers in a cluster.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Aitkin County, at Wolsfeld Woods SNA in Hennepin County, and Interstate State Park, Wisconsin. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin and Hennepin counties. Photo courtesy Keir Morse taken at Interstate State Park, Chisago County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Jerry Brown - Apple Valley
on: 2018-09-12 18:45:37

In Huntington Park. Smooth Solomon’s Seal.

Posted by: Gary - Cook County
on: 2019-11-12 18:02:24

In sugar maple forests where it is infrequent. I saw a few plants this year near Schroeder.

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