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Polygonatum biflorum (Great Solomon's Seal) is a shade-loving, rhizomatous perennial with arching stems boasting small clusters of 3-8 nodding, tubular, yellowish green to whitish green flowers in late spring. Gracefully hanging from the leaf axils, they are followed by ornamentally attractive deep purple berries in the fall. The elegant foliage of oval to oblong, mid-green leaves, turns attractive shades of yellow in the fall. A magnificent shade-loving plant that needs space to be displayed to advantage. Outstanding on the edge of moist woodland areas.
Also called Polygonatum canaliculatum or Great Solomon's Seal, this plant has long, arching stems that dangle cream-colored flowers early spring. Large purple seeds and golden leaves add interest in fall. Germination takes time (note code F, below) but it is well-invested; plants spread slowly and form colonies once established. Solomon's Seal can grow in full sun or full shade. Since the preceding was written a monographic study of the genus has been undertaken by Miss Ruth E. Peck who has studied all my specimens. I now learn that this complex is composed of at least Polygonatum biflorum (Walt.) Ell. and Polygonatum canaliculatum (Muhl.) Pursh. I refer students of this complex to the forthcoming monograph. A form of this species from St. Joseph County was described by McGivney (Amer. Midland Nat. 9: 662-664. 1925.) under the name of Polygonatum commutatum f. ramosum McGivney. It differs from the species by having short branches in the leaf axils and is our only report of this form.
Solomon’s seal is the common name for a number of species in the genus Polygonatum with an attractive architectural form. The rhizomes of various species have been used medicinally to treat various ailments or ground and baked into a type of bread, and the young shoots were eaten like asparagus. There are about 60 species in this group of herbaceous perennials in the lily family (Liliaceae) but only a few are commonly grown as ornamentals in the US, including both native and exotic species. Native Solomon’s-seals (Polygonatum biflorum), as well as other Polygonatum species, generally emerge in late March to early April and immediately begin flowering. They have an unusual plant texture with their arching stems and dangling white flowers. Solomon’s-seals are easy to grow, and with their spreading rhizomes, they will form small colonies by year’s end. (Source: hgic.clemson.edu)