Sunday, May 17, 2009

Maianthemum stellatum: foliage and flowers

[Photo: Maianthemum stellatum foliage and flowers.]Maianthemum stellatum, known in English as "starry false Solomon's seal", "starry Solomon's plume", "starry smilac", or "spikenard", and in French as faux sceau de Salomon or maianthème étoilé, is a woodland perennial native to North America. As you can see, its gracefully bowed stem and its leaves are reminiscent of Solomon's seal (Polygonatum commutatum), but the flowers are completely different, being a cluster of small white flowers on the end of the stem rather than Solomon's seal's pairs of light greenish bells hanging along the underside of the stem.

[Photo: Maianthemum stellatum foliage and flowers.]Here is a slightly blurry attempt to get a closer look at the flowers (click photo to enlarge). They are quite similar to those of its little cousin, wild lily-of-the-valley (M. canadense).

I photographed this plant in High Park, a bit south of the Black Oak Café on the right side of the path.

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