(Starry False Solomon's Seal)
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Facts About this Plant:
- Common Names: Starry False Solomon's Seal, Star Flower
- Synonyms: Convallaria stellata, Smilacina liliacea, Smilacina sessilifolia, Smilacina stellata, Vagnera liliacea, Vagnera sessilifolia, Vagnera stellata
- Lifespan: Perennial
- Zones: 3 - 9
- Type: Forb
- Bloom Time: May - June
- Status: Native
Maianthemum stellatum, or Starry False Solomon's Seal, is native to the entire US except the deep southeast. It is a perennial that grows in open woods, usually in partial shade, and can also be on woodland edges and the surrounding area, and it also curiously grows in what seems like a completely separate habitat, having a preference for moist, sandy areas like shorelines. It blooms in mid to late spring with tall, leafy stalks that have plumes of white flowers; in fall, these leave behind red berries.
This plant has several lookalikes in its genus. But, there are two tall species that look most similar. They are Maiantheum stellatum and Maiantheum racemosum. Both are much larger plants that grow in dry woods. They each also have larger flowers. Maiantheum racemosum has a group of small white to yellowish flowers, and broad leaves that are usually almost 3 inches across, and they have a rough-ish texture. Meanwhile, Maiantheum stellatum has smooth leaves that are usually only one to two inches wide, and the flowers are larger and pure white, and it does sometimes grow in moist, sandy soil.
The other three species are very different and not easily confused. They are Maiantheum trifolium, which has lance-shaped leaves, with yellowish flowers with purple stamens, and grows in cool, wet soil. Maianthemum canadense, meanwhile, has only one to two heart-shaped leaves, and smaller, whiter flowers, and only grows to a maximum height of about seven inches. Finally, a western species, Maiantheum dilatatum is equally short, growing only to about ten inches. See a comparison of the five species below.
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