Smilacina (Maianthemum) racemosa 

(smile-a-cee' nah raa-ce-mo' sah)

Common name: False Solomon's Seal

Family: Asparagaceae (asparagus)

Height x width: 2-3' x 2-3'

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: alternate in a zig-zag pattern, strongly ribbed, to 6" long and 3" wide, ovate to lanceolate, wavy margins

Flowers: creamy white and small in a dense fluffy terminal panicle to 6" long, late spring, followed in mid to late summer by red berries

Hardiness: zones 3-7

Soil: moist, organic, acidic pH 5-6.6

Light: part to full shade

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: moist woodland or natural garden, or shade border, fruit for wildlife

Other interest: genus name from resemblance of leaves to Smilax; common name from resemblance to Solomon's Seal only with flowers terminal and not hanging down from axils; native to North America

Other culture: does not tolerate dry soil such as under shade trees

Propagation: division of rhizomes, seeds stratified in cold at least 3-4 months (may take 2 years to germinate)


Japanese False Solomon's Seal, S. japonica, native to eastern Asia is similar only with stalked flowers and lower leaves. Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal, S. stellata, has fewer flowers, downy stems and is shorter than racemosa and is also native to North America.

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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