Northern Ontario Plant Database
Maianthemum canadense Desf.
En: wild lily-of-the-valley, Canada mayflower, Canada beadruby, false lily-of-the-valley
Asparagaceae (Asparagus Family)
General: An erect perennial herb growing from slender branching rhizomes; flowering stalk glabrous, to 25 cm tall. Extensive patches of single-leaved vegetative shoots propagated by the creeping rhizomes are common.
Leaves: Alternate, 1-3 (usually 2), cauline, sessile, ovate, glabrous (to pubescent westward), to 10 cm long; apex pointed (acute) to blunt (obtuse); base cordate; margins entire; venation parallel.
Flowers: Bisexual, fragrant, to 6 mm across, in a terminal raceme of up to 25 flowers; tepals 4, white; stamens 4, with filaments to 1.5 mm; stigma 2-lobed; the compound, superior ovary is composed of 2 carpels. Nectaries are present at the base of the ovary. Flowering occurs from late May to June.
Fruits: The globose berries, to 6 mm across, are green, mottled with red when immature, becoming a deep, translucent red when mature. The berries contain 1-2 seeds, to 3 mm across.
Habitat and Range: Maianthemum canadense, a characteristic species of boreal coniferous forests, is native to north-temperate and boreal North America. It occurs in most stand types throughout the forested regions of Canada and northeastern United States; in Ontario, it occurs as far north as Big Trout Lake, at ~ 54� N (Scoggan 1978).
Internet Images: The Maianthemum canadense webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers.
The Maianthemum canadense webpage from Michael Hough's Flora of the Northeastern United States.
Similar Species: Maianthemum trifolium (threeleaf false Solomon's seal) can be distinguished by its 6 tepals and elongated sheathing leaves, and its preference for wetter habitats, such as bogs and wet depressions in cool coniferous forests.
- written by Derek Goertz
Back to species list