General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 12 - 24 inches
Plant Spread: 12 - 48 inches
Leaves: Good fall color
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: Red berries containing 1-4 seeds each
Fruiting Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Tolerates dry shade
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds: Stratify seeds: Seeds need alternating periods of warm and cold stratification to germinate
Other info: Seeds have chemical inhibitors that prevent germination if they are not removed
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Pollinators: Beetles
Miscellaneous: Monoecious

Common names
  • False Solomon's Seal
  • Solomon's Plume
  • False Spikenard
  • Job's Tears
  • Zigzag
  • Feathery False Lily of the Valley
  • Treacle Berry
  • Wild Spikenard
  • Golden Seal
Botanical names
  • Accepted: Maianthemum racemosum
  • Synonym: Smilacina racemosa

This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on May 29, 2020 8:59 AM concerning plant:
    This is still a common woodland perennial that is native to much of North America from Alaska into Mexico in Zones 3 to 8 in rich woods; liking moist, humusy, well-drained soils. It slowly spreads by rhizomes, underground stems, but is not aggressive, and forms colonies eventually. It has unbranched, arching stems of alternate, sort of oval leaves with conspicuous parallel veins, basically a Monocot. It bears tiny, creamy white, fragrant flowers in terminal raceme clusters in May, mostly pollinated by bees and beetles. It forms berries that are green at first and mature to ruby red in late summer and often remain into the fall, unless songbirds and small mammals eat the fruit right away. This perennial develops a fairly good yellow fall color. I learned the scientific name of this Common Solomon's-Plume or Common False-Solomon's-Seal as Smilacina racemosa, two Latin words. However, the new botanists have changed the generic name to Maianthemum that comes from two Greek words of: "Maios" = May & "anthemon" = blossom. New botanists have also divided the Lily Family of Liliaceae into four divisions, and this genus is now considered by them as in the Asparagus Family of Asparagaceae. I think it is a wonderful, beautiful woodland forb that makes a good shady garden perennial, and is sold by a number of native plant nurseries as: Prairie Nursery, Prairie moon, Sevenoaks, Archwild, and others.
  • Posted by soluble on Jan 30, 2013 7:09 PM concerning plant:
    A subtly gorgeous native plant. I've seen it growing wild in the woods here (In Massachusetts) as well as in Michigan. The red berries that follow the flowers are every bit as attractive as the flowers, both of which sprout from the ends of arching stems that very much resemble solomon's seal.
  • Posted by Bonehead (Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Oct 4, 2015 9:52 PM concerning plant:
    Native in the Pacific Northwest, found in moist to wet shaded areas. The berries, mottled green to begin with and then bright red, are edible but not particularly palatable. Naturalizes readily in areas it likes, then goes dormant about mid-summer. Used medicinally by various native peoples. I find it a good companion for bulbs.
Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
id by Leftwood Jun 20, 2018 8:49 AM 2

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