Maianthemum stellatum (Starry False Solomon's Seal)
|Also known as:||Starry Solomon's Plume, Starry False Lily-of-the-Valley|
|Family:||Ruscaceae (Butcher's Broom)|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist meadows, edges of woods, shorelines|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||12 to 30 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 2 inches across, generally elliptical tapering to a point at the tip, toothless, finely hairy on the underside, with prominent parallel veins and often folded some lengthwise. The base of the leaf clasps the stem. The stem slightly zig-zags between the alternately attached leaves and may be hairless or finely hairy. The plant does not grow upright, but tilts to one side and arcs a bit at the top.
Just looking at the leaves, Smooth Solomon's Seal, False Solomon's Seal, and Starry False Solomon's Seal are all similar. False Solomon's Seal prefers shadier habitats, has more, smaller flowers, plus its leaves do not clasp the stem and are wider than Starry False Solomon's Seal. Smooth Solomon's Seal has racemes of flowers on the underside of the arcing stem, rather than a cluster at the end. Starry False Solomon's Seal often goes by Latin name Smilacina stellata but the accepted name in Minnesota is Maianthemum stellatum. 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, and at Vermillion Falls, Dakota County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?