starry false Solomon’s seal

(Maianthemum stellatum)

Conservation Status
starry false Solomon’s seal
Photo by Bill Reynolds
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FAC - Facultative

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Starry false Solomon’s seal is an 8 to 24 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a long, creeping rhizome. It often forms colonies.

The stems are erect, usually slightly reclined, unbranched, slightly zigzagged, and hairless. It has 8 to 11 leaves.

The leaves are alternate, spreading to ascending, stiff, usually folded, stalkless, and somewhat clasping. They are lance-shaped, 2 to 6 long, and ¾ to 2 wide. They are rounded at the base and taper gradually to a point at the tip with straight sides along the tip. The upper surface is hairless, the lower surface finely hairy. The margins are untoothed.

The inflorescence is a spike-like, erect or ascending, ¾ to 2 long, unbranched cluster of 6 to 15 flowers on a short stalk at the end of the stem.

The flowers are about wide and star-shaped. There are 3 narrow, spreading, white petals and 3 similar sepals (6 tepals), and 6 stamens. They have a mild fragrance.

The fruit is a globular berry, 5 16 to in diameter, with 1 or 2 seeds. It is initially green, becoming dark blue-violet when it ripens. They are yellowish-green when young with 3 to 6 red to purple stripes. When they mature they turn dark red.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

8 to 24

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Common false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum var. racemosum) is a slightly taller plant, reaching up to 30 at maturity. The leaves are broader, egg-shaped to elliptic, and are not stiff or folded. The inflorescence is a plume-like, branched panicle of 20 to 80 tiny flowers. The flowers are about wide. The fruits are smaller and are green with copper spots when young.

Hairy Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum pubescens) is a taller plant, reaching up to 36 at maturity. The stem is arching. The leaves are broader, are on short stalks, and are not stiff or folded. The inflorescence is small clusters of cylinder-shaped flowers hanging downward from most leaf axils. The fruits are green when young and dark blue-violet when mature.

Large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandifloria) leaves are perfoliate. The inflorescence is 1 to 3 solitary flowers that appear to hang downward from leaf axils. The flowers are bell-shaped, 1 to 2 long, and bright yellow. The fruit is a 3-celled, greenish to yellowish-brown capsule.

Rose twisted-stalk (Streptopus lanceolatus var. longipes) is a taller plant, reaching up to 36 at maturity. The stem is hairy, branching, and jointed at the leaf axils giving it a zigzag appearance. The leaves do not clasp the stem. The flowers are dark rose-purple to pink and bell-shaped. They hang downward from leaf axils singly on stems up to 2 long that are twisted or have an abrupt bend in the middle. The fruit is bright red.

Smooth Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum) is a much taller plant, reaching up to 48 at maturity. The stem is arching. The leaves are broader and are not stiff or folded. The inflorescence is small clusters of cylinder-shaped flowers hanging downward from most leaf axils. The fruits are green when young and blackish red when mature.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry to moderate moisture. Woods, prairies. Full to partial sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to June

 
     
 

Pests and Diseases

 
 

 

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.

 
  6/6/2022      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  
 

Order

Asparagales (agaves, orchids, irises, and allies)  
 

Family

Asparagaceae (agave and allies)  
  Subfamily Nolinoideae (dragon trees)  
 

Genus

Maianthemum (mayflowers and false Solomon‘s seals)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Convallaria stellata

Smilacina sessilifolia

Smilacina stellata

Smilacina stellata var. crassa

Smilacina stellata var. mollis

Smilacina stellata var. sessilifolia

Smilacina stellata var. sylvatica

Unifolium liliaceum

Unifolium sessilifolium

Unifolium stellatum

Vagnera liliacea

Vagnera sessilifolia

Vagnera stellata

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

false Solomon’s seal

little false Solomon’s seal

starry false lily of the valley

starry false Solomon’s seal

starry false Solomon’s-seal

starry Solomon’s-seal

star-flowered false Solomon’s-seal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

Clasping

Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.

 

Panicle

A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.

 

Perfoliate

A leaf having margins that entirely surround the stem, giving the appearance that the stem is growing through the leaf.

 

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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Luciearl

 
    starry false Solomon’s seal   starry false Solomon’s seal  
 

Bill Reynolds

 
    starry false Solomon’s seal   starry false Solomon’s seal  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Plant

 
    starry false Solomon’s seal   starry false Solomon’s seal  
           
 

Inflorescence

 
    starry false Solomon’s seal      
           
 

Infructescence

 
    starry false Solomon’s seal      

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Smilacina stellata STARRY FALSE SOLOMON'S SEAL
Frank Mayfield
  Smilacina stellata STARRY FALSE SOLOMON'S SEAL  

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Star flowered false Solomon's seal (Maianthemum stellatum)
Julia Alards-Tomalin
 
   
 
About

Jun 19, 2020

Native herb identification in the Pacific Northwest

 
  Starry False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum)
Ray Revolta
 
   
 
About

Sep 23, 2015

Found on Vallee-Lourdes Drive, Bathurst, NB, Canada

FLOWER: Spike-like raceme 1 to 4 inches long of up to 20 stalked white flowers. Each flower is about 3/8 inch across, has 6 tepals (petals) and 6 stamens with pale yellow or cream-colored tips.

LEAVES: 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.

FRUIT: Each flower is replaced by a berry, about ¼ inch in diameter. Berries are initially green with purple stripes and ripen to solid reddish-purple. Native in my area, and throughout North America, but again, DO NOT EAT THE BERRIES. Leaves and stems are also poisonous and can leave you feeling rather ill.

NOTES: 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).

 
  Wild Plants in the Garden: Starry Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum)
Anna Marija Helt, PhD, Herbalist
 
   
 
About

May 14, 2022

This is a great way to have access to wild medicinal plants that are, perhaps, less plentiful than those such as Dandelion or Yarrow.

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Luciearl
6/5/2017

Location: Cass County

starry false Solomon's seal  
  Bill Reynolds
8/25/2015

Location: Pennington Co.

starry false Solomon's seal  
           
 
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Created: 6/1/2014

Last Updated:

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