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Smilacina racemosa


syn Smilacina racemosa(L.) Desf. Solomon's Plume or False Solomon's Seal

Family - LILIACEAE - Lily Family:

Award of Garden Merit (A.G.M.) from the Royal Horticultural Society. The species of genus Smilacina have been moved to the genus ''Maianthemum'' and this species is now called Maianthemum racemosum.

'False Solomon's Seal' or 'false spikenard' or Solomon's-plume' (smy-lass-EE-na: ra-say-MO-sa)

Maianthemum racemosum subsp. racemosum

Graceful shade plants with feathery panicles of creamy white flowers covering the ends of arching stems. Plants bloom in mid spring and in late summer are topped off with red berries. This is a native North American wood land plant that grows well in the shade garden. Over time plants will grow in to large clumps and are particularly attractive growing on a slope. Will take 4 or 5 years to bloom from seed but once established, very long lived. Plants have alternate leaves on arching stems; leaves are somewhat hairy and light green in color, with tapered bases and short petioles. Flowering in mid to late spring; the creamy white, fragrant flowers are small but clustered together in thick tapered panicles. In late summer and early fall the plants are burdened down with berries that are red/brown with small dots on them, in the fall the fruit dries to a bright red color but the fruits to not persist for long on the plant.
This plant grows into thick spreading clumps and should be planted in a shady area that is moist and humus rich. Plants make an attractive addition to the shade garden growing well in constant shade.
They look good all season long, giving the garden some nice structure to look at. This species grows 24-30 inches tall and will form a clump 36 inches wide after a number years - in the wild they tend to grow as single stemmed plants or developing into small clusters of stems spread-out over a few square feet. Long lived and easy to grow and can be divided in spring. Long lived perennials that have nice white flowers in the spring and red berries in the fall.

This species is native to North America from Quebec to Tennessee and to Arizona. Great planted in the wood land setting or on a shady bank.

Plants have 36 chromosomes. Smilacina amplexicaulis has been reduced to a subspecies of the above species and is called 'Maianthemum racemosum subsp. amplexicaule. It is found in deciduous woodlands west of the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia south to Mexico. Plants with acute inflorescence, shorter than 2MM. Erect stems, leaves sessile with rounded leaf blades. Blooms mid spring. Propagation by seed or division of the rhizomes. A worthwhile plant to grow in the open shade garden.

Zones 3-8

Sow outside in a sheltered location for germination next year and the year after. Needs a few periods of alternating warm/cool temperatures while the seeds are moist use 60 days at 50-78F and 90 days at <38F. Germination can take place from one to five years.

50 seeds