starry false Solomon’s seal

(Maianthemum stellatum)

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

not listed


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative


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.




8 to 24


Flower Color




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.


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




May to June


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



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









  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)  


Asparagales (agaves, orchids, irises, and allies)  


Asparagaceae (agave and allies)  
  Subfamily Nolinoideae (dragon tree)  
  Tribe Polygonateae (true and false Solomon‘s seals)  


Maianthemum (mayflowers and false Solomon‘s seals)  



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

star-flowered lily of the valley













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.

Visitor Photos

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

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      



Frank Mayfield
  Smilacina stellata STARRY FALSE SOLOMON'S SEAL  



Visitor Videos

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

Jun 19, 2020

Native herb identification in the Pacific Northwest

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

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

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.




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Location: Cass County

starry false Solomon's seal  
  Bill Reynolds

Location: Pennington Co.

starry false Solomon's seal  

Agassiz Dunes SNA (MN DNR)

Anna Gronseth Prairie

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Banning State Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Blue Devil Valley SNA

Brownsville Bluff SNA

Buffalo River State Park

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Camden State Park

Cannon River Trout Lily SNA

Carley State Park

Carver Park Reserve

Cedar Mountain SNA

Chimney Rock SNA

Crow Wing State Park

Englund Ecotone SNA

Felton WMA

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Fort Ridgely State Park

Franconia Bluffs SNA

Frontenac State Park

Glendalough State Park

Great River Bluffs State Park

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hardscrabble Woods / MG Tusler Sanctuary

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hastings SNA

Helen Allison Savanna SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Iron Springs Bog SNA

John A. Latsch State Park

Kasota Prairie

Kasota Prairie SNA

Keller Regional Park

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kilen Woods State Park

King’s and Queen’s Bluff SNA

Laible Woods

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Maria State Park

Langhei Prairie SNA

Leif Mountain

Maplewood State Park

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

Minnesota Valley NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit

Monson Lake State Park

Morton Outcrops SNA

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myre-Big Island State Park

P.N. and G.M. Nelson Wildlife Sanctuary

Paul Bunyan Savanna

Potato Lake SNA

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Rice Lake State Park

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

Rushford Sand Barrens SNA

Sakatah Lake State Park

Savage Fen SNA

Schaefer Prairie

Sedan Brook Prairie SNA

Seven Mile Creek County Park

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Seven Springs WMA

Shooting Star Prairie SNA

Sibley State Park

Stanley Eddy Memorial Park Reserve

Tribute WMA

Twin Lakes SNA

Uncas Dunes SNA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitney Island SNA

William O’Brien State Park

Zumbro Falls Woods SNA





Created: 6/1/2014

Last Updated:

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