Maianthemum racemosum is also known by many other names, Smilacina racemes, False Spikenard, American Spikenard, Wild Spikenard, False Solomon’s Seal, Feathery False Solomon’s Seal, Feathery false Lily of the Valley, Treacleberry, Solomon’s Plume.
It is clump-forming from underground rhizomes. It is part of the Asparagaceae family of plants. Maianthemum racemosum is native to North America, the USA, Canada, and northern Mexico. The name racemosum refers to flowers appearing in racemes. It is a close relative to Polygonatum or Solomon’s Seal and therefore the name Fake Solomon’s Seal.
Maianthemum racemosum grows to about 60cm or 2ft. The Maianthemum racemosum flowers are pyramid-shaped, fluffy, and appear as a terminal panicle. They are white, fragrant and appear in spring. The lush foliage is broad-elliptical and alternating. The flowers are followed by green fruit that later turns into red berries.
Plant Maianthemum racemosum in humus-rich, fertile, but well-drained soil in partial or full shade. Shelter it from the wind. Propagate by seed or by the division of rhizomes. It does not require any pruning and is generally disease-free and pest-free. Maianthemum racemosum young shoots are eaten and they taste like asparagus. However, later as it grows it turns bitter. The roots were used by Native Americans as medicine used as a laxative. The fruits also have a laxative property. The plant resembles Baneberry which could be very toxic.
Other names or synonyms include:
Maianthemum racemosum subsp. racemosum
Smilacina racemosa var. cylindrata
Smilacina racemosa f. foliosa
Smilacina racemosa var. lanceolata