Canada mayflower

(Maianthemum canadense)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Canada mayflower

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

Midwest

FAC - Facultative

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common

Habitat

Moist. Deciduous and coniferous forests. Dappled sunlight to dense shade.

Flowering

May to June

     
Flower Color

White

     
Height

4 to 10

     

Identification

This is a 4 to 10 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a spreading, thread-like rhizome. The rhizome is ¾ to 12 long and 1 32 to 1 16 wide.

Separate sterile and fertile stems are produced.

Sterile stems are short and have a single basal leaf. Fertile stems have usually 2, sometimes 3 leaves. They are erect, zigzagged, unbranched, round in cross section, hairless, 4 to 7 tall, and 1 32 to in diameter.

The basal leaf (on a sterile stem) is held parallel to the ground at maturity in a leaf stalk (petiole) that is up to 2 long. The blade is egg-shaped, 1¾ to 3¼ long, and 1¼ to 2¼ wide. It is deeply heart-shaped with narrow sinuses at the base and tapers to a point at the tip with straight sides along the tip. Sometimes there is a short, tail-like appendage at the tip. There are usually 3, sometimes 5, conspicuous, recessed, parallel veins. The upper surface is medium green and hairless. The lower surface is pale green and hairless or finely hairy. The margins are untoothed and sometimes have a fringe of fine hairs.

Leaves on the fertile stem are alternate. The lowest leaf is stalkless but otherwise similar to the basal leaf on a sterile stem. The uppermost leaf is on a short, 1 32 to ¼ long petiole and is often much narrower.

The inflorescence is a plume-like, unbranched cluster (raceme) of 12 to 24 tiny flowers at the end of the stem. The raceme is cylinder-shaped, erect, and ¾ to 2 long. There are usually 2 flowers, sometimes 1 or 3, at each node of the raceme.

Each flower is star-shaped and about wide. There are 2 petals, 2 similar, petal-like sepals (4 tepals), and 4 stamens. The tepals are conspicuous, white, 1 32to 116 long, and 1 32to wide. The stamens have white filaments and yellow anthers. They are 1 32to 116 long and protrude well beyond the petals.

The fruit is a globular, to ¼ in diameter berry with 1 or 2 seeds. It is initially green mottled with red, becoming deep translucent red when ripe.

 
Similar
Species

 


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

Varieties
Plants in the eastern half of its range have a hairless lower leaf surface and a hairless margin. Plants in the west have larger leaves with a finely hairy lower leaf surface and a fringe of fine hairs on the leaf margin. Some authorities, including Gleason & Cronquist41 and Voss43, distinguish the latter as a separate variety, Maianthemum canadense var. interius, and the former as Maianthemum canadense var. canadense. Neither GRIN38 nor ITIS37 recognize the varieties.


Taxonomy

Family:

Asparagaceae (asparagus)

 

Subfamily:

Nolinoideae

 
Synonyms

Maianthemum canadense var. interius

Maianthemum canadense var. pubescens

Maianthenum canadense

Unifolium canadense

 
Common
Names

Canada bead-ruby

Canada may-lily

Canada mayflower

false lily-of-the-Valley

two-leaf Solomon’s seal

two-leaf-Solomon’s-seal

twoleaved Solomonseal

wild lily-of-the-Valley


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

filament

On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.

 

node

The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.

 

petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

 

sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

tepal

Refers to both the petals and the sepals of a flower when they are similar in appearance and difficult to tell apart. Tepals are common in lilies and tulips.

       

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Habitat

  Canada mayflower    
       

Sterile Shoots

  Canada mayflower   Canada mayflower
       

Fertile Shoots

  Canada mayflower   Canada mayflower
       
  Canada mayflower   Canada mayflower
       

Inflorescence

  Canada mayflower   Canada mayflower
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)  
     
  Maianthemum canadense (Canada Mayflower)
Allen Chartier
 
  Maianthemum canadense (Canada Mayflower)  

 

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Other Videos

 
  Maianthemum canadense
newenglandwild
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 20, 2012

New England Wild Flower Society Stockbed Grower Dan Jaffe talks about one of his favorite plants - Maianthemum canadense.

 
     

 

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