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Maianthemum racemosum
M. r. subsp. amplexicaule, Squak Mountain State Park, Issaquah, Washington
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Ruscaceae
Genus: Maianthemum
Species: M. racemosum
Binomial name
Maianthemum racemosum
(L.) Link

Smilacina racemosa

Maianthemum racemosum (Treacleberry, False Solomon's Seal, Solomon's plume[1][2] or False Spikenard; syn. Smilacina racemosa) is a species of flowering plant in the family Ruscaceae, native to North America.

It is a woodland herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50-90 cm tall, with alternate, oblong-lanceolate leaves 7-15 cm long and 3-6 cm broad. The flowers are produced on a 10-15 cm panicle, each flower with six white tepals 3-6 mm long blooming in late spring. The plants produce green fruits that are round and turn red in late summer.

It grows from cylindrical rhizomes about 0.3 m long.[2]



Maianthemum racemosum grows in bicoastal habitats in North America up to elevations of 7,000 feet. 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.[3]

Uses and Identification

M. r. subsp. amplexicaule fruit, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

The young shoots, while still tender and stripped of their leaves, can be simmered in water and eaten. Their delicate flavor is somewhat reminiscent of asparagus. However, they should not be collected for this purpose unless they are obviously abundant.

M. r. subsp. amplexicaule, Olympic National Park

Although the young shoots are edible, the plant becomes too fibrous and bitter to enjoy after it completes flowering and seed setting stages. The Ojibwa Indians harvested the roots of this plant and cooked them in lye water overnight to remove the bitterness and neutralize their strong laxative qualities.

This plant should be consumed in moderation, as it can act as a strong laxative in sensitive individuals. A poultice made from the roots of this plant was used as an effective treatment for sunburns by American Indians. The roots of this plant were often dried and then smoked by several Eastern Native American tribes as a treatment for hyperactivity in children and emotional depression. The plant was also used by Native Americans as a cough suppressant.

When young, Maianthemum racemosum may closely resemble members of the genus Veratrum, a highly toxic member of the Lily family to which it is distantly related. Consequently, this plant should not be consumed unless identification is positive. [4]

Blooming on roadside

See also


  1. ^ "Solomon's-plume (False Solomon's-seal)". Connecticut Botanical Society.  
  2. ^ a b "Maianthemum racemosum". Flora of North America.  
  3. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Coastal Woodfern (Dryopteris arguta}, GlobalTwitcher, ed. N. Stromberg
  4. ^ Gregory L. Tilford, Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, ISBN 0-87842-359-1

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Maianthemum racemosum


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Asparagales
Familia: Ruscaceae
Genus: Maianthemum
Species: Maianthemum racemosum
Subspecies: M. r. subsp. racemosum - M. r. subsp. amplexicaule


Maianthemum racemosum (L.) Link


  • Enumeratio Plantarum Horti Regii Berolinensis Altera. Berolini [Berlin] 1:343. 1821
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. 433198
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Maianthemum racemosum on Wikimedia Commons.


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