Plant of the day: star-flowered false Solomon’s seal

Deep in the shaded understory, small star-shaped flowers gleam. Each spray of white blooms is arranged above symmetrical rows of corn-like leaves. This is star-flowered false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum stellatum).

This pretty little flower is found across much of North America, and goes by a whole boatload of names including false lily of the valley, starry false Solomon’s-seal, star-flowered Solomon’s-seal, starry Solomon plume, starry smilac, and spikenard. The Nuxalk Indians of British Columbia, and many other tribes, collected the ripe berries for food; the root was often used medicinally. The most-cited use was for stomach ailments but it was also used for earache, cough, arthritis, boils, menstrual troubles, venereal disease, and to stupefy fish. It is a very versatile plant.

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Filed under Edible, Medicinal, Native, Plant of the day

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