Maianthemum trifolium (Three-leaf False Solomon's-seal)
|Also known as:||Three-leaf Solomon's-plume, Three-leaf False Lily of the Valley|
|Family:||Ruscaceae (Butcher's Broom)|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; bogs, swamps, wet forests|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||4 to 16 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A single raceme of 5 to 15 star-shaped flowers on slender stalks at the top of the plant. Flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch across with 6 white tepals (petals), 6 white stamens with creamy tips that turn reddish with age, and a creamy colored ovary in the center with a 3-parted style protruding at the top.
Leaves and stem:
2 to 4 leaves, usually 3, are alternately attached, nearly erect, and sheathing at the base. Leaves are oval to elliptic, 2 to 4¾ inches long, 1 to 1½ inches wide, with pointed tips, tapering towards the base, toothless and hairless, with numerous faint lines on the surface. The main stem is smooth and green to reddish.
Three-leaf False Solomon's-seal tends to grow in colonies. Overall the plant is similar to Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), but the flower cluster on the latter is more compact and is primarily a woodland species. This species also goes by Latin name Smilacina trifolia but the accepted name in Minnesota is Maianthemum trifolium. Formerly in the Liliaceae (Lily) family, all Maianthemum species have been reassigned to Ruscaceae (Butcher's Broom).
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Three-leaf False Solomon's-seal plants
- more flowers
- more plants, with Pitcher Plant and Bog Rosemary
Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?