South Dakota Native Plant Research
Liliaceae : Maianthemum racemosum

Liliaceae : Maianthemum racemosum


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Family Name


Common Name

False Solomon’s Seal, Feathery false lily of the valley

Native American Name

Lakota: yapízapi hú


Maianthemum racemosum is a perennial herb from a whitish rhizome with simple, erect stems growing 35-80 cm tall. The simple, alternate, lanceolate to elliptical leaves are 2-ranked, 6-15 cm long and 2-7 cm wide. The leaves are sessile or with a short petiole, have a rounded bases, a pointed tips, and entire margins, with prominent veins running the length of the leaves. The inflorescence is a many-flowered panicle. The flowers have 6, white tepals, 1-4 mm long and 6 stamens that are longer than the tepals. The fruit is a green to red to purple berry, 4-6 mm in diameter. False Solomon’s Seal blooms from April into July in moist woodlands and thickets in the eastern and western border counties of South Dakota.

Synonym: Smilacina racemosa

Additional Notes

False Solomon’s Seal is a striking addition to a forested native plant garden, offering visually interesting leaves and bright flowers in an early summer understory. The fruit are edible, but are a mild laxative, but they also attract birds and small mammals.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Collect the berries when they are dark red to purple in June to August. Remove the fruit tissues and store in the refrigerator.

Germination: The seeds are hard to germinate. Plant them in the fall and expect germination in the second year. Seeds kept moist and given a 90-day cold treatment followed by a 90-day warm treatment then repeating the cold treatment will allow seeds to germinate if sown in the spring.

Light: Partial shade to full shade.

Soil: Organically rich soils are preferred, but they tolerate sandy and rocky soils.

Moisture: Best in moist sites but can tolerate drier conditions.

Liliaceae : Maianthemum racemosum