May 25 2011
False Solomon’s Seal is a perennial plant in the Lily family that grows in moist woods and thickets. It goes by many names including Solomon’s plume, False Spikenard, Treacleberry, Maianthemum racemosum and Smilacina racemosa.
The plant sprouts every year from creeping rhizomes so you usually find its long slightly zigzag stems in sizable clumps. The leaves’ upper surface is parallel to the stem so the plants lean to one side. Interestingly, an entire clump tends to lean the same direction, all of them showing their leaves to the sun and their white flowers to pollinating bees and beetles. It looks like the whole clump is doing “The Wave.”
False Solomon’s Seal produces red berries in the fall that are eaten by birds and rodents. People sometimes use the plant as a laxative and deer browse it occasionally but it’s not one of their favorites. Perhaps the deer know about its laxative effects.
So this is False Solomon’s Seal, but what plant is “true”… and why? Leave a comment with your answer.
(photo from Wikipedia. Click on the photo to see the original)