Scientific Name: Smilacina racemoso
(Information for this species page was gathered in part by Ms. Jesyrae Lawther for an assignment in Biology 220M, Spring 2009)
False Solomon’s seal (Smilacina racemoso) (also called “Solomon’s plume”) is a plant species in the lily (Liliaceae) family. It can be found all across North America (including Canada, the United States, and Mexico) and even well down into the countries of Central America. It can be abundant in both moist and also dry forests, along stream banks, and on rocky, wooded slopes. It grows readily in light shade or partial sun and in moist to moderately dry soils although it is most frequently found and often identified with moist environments. These broad tolerances of soils types, moisture levels, and sunlight allows it to potentially grow almost anywhere.
The individual stems in a clump grow between 1 and 2 feet long, are dark green and glossy and slightly zigzagged in shape, and have long, ovate leaves that arise in opposite pairs along its length. The leaves are also dark green and are prominently etched with numerous, parallel veins. Each stem flowers in mid-spring forming terminal clusters of small, white, star-shaped flowers. These flowers give the plant a plume-like appearance.
Pollination, Fruiting, and Seed Dispersal
The fruit of the false Solomon’s seal are consumed by a wide variety of birds (including ruffed grouse) and a small number of rodents (including white-footed mice). The passage of the seeds through the intestinal tracts of these species stimulates germination, and the deposition of these seeds in the feces greatly facilitates the dispersal of the plant.
The leaves of false Solomon’s seal are edible but relatively unpalatable. White-tail deer occasionally will browse false Solomon’s seal, but few other herbivores are known to consume it. This lack of herbivore pressure greatly assists the continued persistence and growing abundance of false Solomon’s seal in its forest habitats.
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This page was last updated on
October 8, 2013