starry false Solomon’s seal

(Maianthemum stellatum)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

starry false Solomon’s seal


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FAC - Facultative

Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative






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

Photo by Bill Reynolds

May to June

Flower Color



8 to 24



This 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.


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.

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





Asparagaceae (asparagus)





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


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













The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



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



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



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



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



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



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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Bill Reynolds

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




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


  starry false Solomon’s seal    


  starry false Solomon’s seal    





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




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Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington Co.


starry false Solomon's seal



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