Flowers in Terminal Clusters )
Lily Family (Liliaceae)
False Solomon's Seal
Season: Late May-Early June
Habitat: Montane/Moist Areas
Height: 20-40 cm
Description: False Solomon's seal (known alternately as Smilacina racemosa), is another of our easily identified wildflowers. Look for alternately arranged, clasping, lily-style leaves and flowers growing in a dense terminal spike. The flowers are later replaced by bright red berries.
Flower: False Solomon's seal flowers occur in a dense terminal spike (panicle) of up to 12 cm in length. The individual flowers are tiny and white, growing tightly along a series of progressively shorter lateral branches off the main stalk, producing a a spike of flowers that grows narrower towards the tip. Each flower has six petals (tepals) and six stamens that are often more prominent than the petals.
Leaf: The lily style leaves grow in an alternate arrangement with smooth margins, and veins running parallel to the leave's edge. The leaves tightly clasp the stem, and vary between 5-15 cm in length. There may be between five and fifteen leaves on each plant, and often the stem is slightly zig-zaged with a slight bend at each leaf juncture.
Fruit/Seed: This plant produces a cluster of beatiful red berries. Each berrie is shiny and approximately 5-7 mm in diametre.
Similar Species: Star-flowered Solomon's seal has similar, alternate style clasping leaves, but the overall plant is much smaller (up to 60 cm), with only 5 to 10 star-shaped flowers. The berries are also fewer and may display 3 or 6 dark red stripes.
Three-leaved false Solomon's seal (M. trifolium) is a less common plant with only three leaves and a more sparse flower head (raceme), with 2-12 individual flowers borne at the end of longer stalks.
Range: False Solomon's seal is found in damp woods, throughout the Canadian Rockies, central Alberta and British Columbia and east to Nova Scotia. It extends south to Missouri, and west to California.
The Thompson Indians ate the berries and the leafy shoots as a food source. Too many berries however, can leave you with diarhea. The Thompson's also used a decoction made from the leaves as a treatment for rheumatism, cancer, internal pains, pregnancy and menstual pains, and even sore throats.
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False Solomon's Seal