Maianthemum dilatatum (snakeberry, two-leaved Solomon's seal or false lily of the valley) is a common rhizomatous perennial flowering plant that is native to western North America from northern California to the Aleutian islands, and Asia across the Kamchatka Peninsula, Japan, and Korea. It grows in coastal temperate rainforests, and is often the dominant groundcover plant in Sitka Spruce forests.

Maianthemum dilatatum
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Maianthemum
M. dilatatum
Binomial name
Maianthemum dilatatum
M. dilatatum, Squak Mountain State Park, Issaquah, Washington

Description edit

The plant produces an erect, unbranched flower stem, occasionally to 40 centimeters in height, but typically much shorter. A non-flowering shoot bears one smooth, waxy, shiny leaf up to 10 centimeters long and 5 to 8 cm broad, hence its scientific name (dilatatum means 'broad'). The leaf is oval in shape with a heart-shaped base.

The inflorescence is an erect raceme with star-shaped white flowers. They each have four tepals and four stamens. After fertilization the fruit produced is a berry 6 millimeters in diameter. The berry is speckled red when immature and solid red when ripe. Each has 1 to 4 seeds. The leaf is green and shaped like a tear drop.

Uses edit

The plant has many ethnobotanical uses. The roots and leaves were used medicinally, and the berries were occasionally used for food.[1] Native Americans used the plant to treat wounds and eyestrain.[2]

Being tolerant of deep shade, drought, and extensive watering, the plant is becoming more popular as a shade groundcover in gardening. Care should be taken when using it in gardens as it can quickly escape confines with its creeping rhizomes and may crowd out other plants.[citation needed]

References edit

  1. ^ "NAEB Text Search results for 'Maianthemum dilatatum'". Native American Ethnobotany. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  2. ^ Fagan, Damian (2019). Wildflowers of Oregon: A Field Guide to Over 400 Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of the Coast, Cascades, and High Desert. Guilford, CT: FalconGuides. p. 24. ISBN 1-4930-3633-5. OCLC 1073035766.
  • Sept, D. J., 2005. Wild Berries of the Northwest. Calypso Publishing: Sechelt, B.C.

External links edit

Immature berries of Maianthemum dilatatum