University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial of the Month - February 2000

Variegated Solomons Seal

Polygontum odoratum 'Variegatum'

(pol-ig-o-naa' tum o' door-ah' tum vair-e-ah-gaa' tum)

Common name: Variegated Solomon's Seal

Family: Liliaceae, Lily

Height x width: 24"-36" x 2'

Growth rate: moderate to vigorous

Foliage: alternate, broadly lanceolate leaves, light green edged white; brownish yellow in the fall

Flowers: 1/2-1" long, usually in pair hanging below leaves, greenish white, late April in South and late May in North for 2-3 weeks; followed by bluish black berries in the fall

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-8

Soil: moist, loamy preferred

Light: part to full shade, especially in the south

Pests and problems: none significant

Landscape habit, uses: to add color to and brighten shade gardens as specimens or massed, wild and woodland gardens, part shade borders, cut in arrangements

Other interest: native to Europe and Asia but related to native American biflorum; Latin name from poly or many, and gonu or knee joints, referring to the many jointed rhizome roots; common name may be from the scar left on the roots once the stems die off in fall, resembling seal used on wax on documents in past time; common name also may be from fact that the powdered roots were believed in 16th century to "seal" broken bones when drunk in ale.

Other culture: tolerates heavy shade

Propagation: fall rootstock division with at least one bud per division; seeds stratified at 40F for 6 weeks minimum prior to sowing

Sources: many mail order and local garden centers or nurseriesand online catalogs as well.

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