Maianthemum racemosum

feathery false lily of the valley


The Basics

Taxonomy: Kingdom - Plantae (plants). Subkingdom- Tracheobionata (vascular plants). Superdivision - Spermatophyta (seed plants). Division - Magnoliophyta (flowering plants). Class - Liliopsida (monocotyledons). Subclass - Liliidae. Order - Liliales.
Family - Liliaceae (lily). Genus - Maianthemum F.H. Wigg. (mayflower). Species - Maianthemum racemosum (feathery false lily of the valley).

Ecology: Moist, open woodland, streambanks; < 2000 m. Northwestern California, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Central Western California, Transverse Ranges; to Alaska, eastern North America. Mar-Jul. Feathery false Solomon's-seal is a common wildflower of moist deciduous forests throughout New England. It was widely used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes, especially the root. The ripe fruits are edible.

Rhizome: 5-10 mm diam.

Stem: 30-90 cm, glabrous to finely hairy above.

Leaf: >5, 7-20 cm, ovate to oblong-elliptic, acute to acuminate, glabrous to finely hairy abaxially; petioles 0.



Leaf arrangement
Alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem.
Leaf blade shape
The leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends).
The leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends).
Leaf blade length
90–170 mm
Flower petal color
Flower petal length
0.5–1 mm
Petal fusion
The perianth parts are separate.
Inflorescence type
The inflorescence is a panicle (branched with the individual flowers on stalks).
Ovary position
The ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment.
Fruit type (specific)
The fruit is a berry (fleshy, with the wall enclosing one or more sections, with two or more seeds).
Fruit length
4–6 mm


No serious insect or disease problems.

Roots do not like to be disturbed.

Dry areas.


Inflorescence: panicle, 5-12 cm; flowers > 20.

Flower: perianth parts 6, 1-2 mm, stamens, erect, narrowly oblong; ovary chambers 3.

Fruit: 5-7 mm, red, dotted purple.

Seed: 2.5-6 mm, brown.

Species Distribution


USDA Plant Database
USDA, NRCS. 2016. The PLANTS Database (, 4 February 2016). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Flora of North America
Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds.  1993+.  Flora of North America North of Mexico.  19+ vols.  New York and Oxford.

Intermountain Herbarium
Consortium of Intermountain Herbaria. 2016. Accessed on February 04.

Burke Museum Plant Image Collection
The plant image collection at the Burke Museum, University of Washington.

Jepson Manual
The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California. B.G. Baldwin, D.H. Goldman, D.J. Keil, R. Patterson, T.J. Rosatti, and D.H. Wilken [editors]. 2012. 2nd edition, thoroughly revised and expanded. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. $131.95, hardcover; 1600 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0520253124.