Smilacina Racemosa or

Smilacina Racemosa or

Smilacina Racemosa

This interesting plant produces attractive flowers and berries. It has a similar appearance to Smilacina stellata (Starry False Solomon's Seal), but the latter species produces a raceme of flowers, rather than a branching panicle. The flowers of Starry False Solomon's Seal are somewhat larger in size and fewer in number (less than 20 per raceme), and its leaves are more narrow. Another species, Polygonatum commutatum (Solomon's Seal), has very similar foliage, but its leaves slightly clasp the central stem. The flowers of Solomon's Seal have a very different appearance; their corolla is tubular-shaped and greenish white. Furthermore, the flowers of Solomon's Seal hang from the central stem in small umbels of 1-5 flowers; these umbels develop from the base of each leaf. The scientific name of Smilacina racemosa is something of a misnomer as this species produces flowers in panicles, rather than racemes. Another common name for this species is Solomon's Plume, although it appears to be passing out of fashion.



Seven to 250 small flowers are produced on a 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) panicle that has well-developed branches. Each flower has six white tepals 3–6 mm (0.12–0.24 in) long and is set on a short pedicel usually less than 1 mm long. Blooming is mid-spring with fruiting by early summer. The plants produce fruits that are rounded to 3-lobed and green with copper spots when young, turning red in late summer.They are geographically separated, with subsp. amplexicaule a western subspecies and subsp. racemosum found in the east, with some overlap in the central states. The western plants (subsp. amplexicaule) have erect stems and leaves with a clasping, rounded base and upper leaves with tips with short points. The eastern subspecies (subsp. racemosum) tends to have arching stems, leaves with a short petiole and upper leaf-tips with an extended point 12–25 mm long.

Maianthemum racemosum grows in habitats in North America up to elevations of 9,000 ft (2,743 m). The most robust and profuse occurrences of this plant are typically found in partial shade and deep, moist, soft soils. In the western part of North America an example typical habitat would be in a shaded ravine or riparian corridor with common understory associates of Dryopteris arguta, Trillium ovatum and Adiantum jordanii.Native over large parts of North America, this plant is easy to grow in any moist woodland situation. It produces a clump of arching zigzag stems with large shiny and pleated leaves. Clusters of tiny ivory-white flowers are in spikes on the ends of each stem, appearing in late spring. Small red berries are showy in late summer and autumn. May be divided carefully in early autumn, if desired. Plants take time to become established and produce a decent display. (Source: www.perennials.com)






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