May 25 2011

Now Blooming … and a Quiz

Published by at 7:19 am under Plants,Quiz,Schenley Park

This week in Schenley Park, the hillsides are dotted with the white plumes of False Solomon's Seal.

False Solomon's Seal is a perennial plant in the Lily family that grows in moist woods and thickets.  It goes by many names including Solomon's plume, False Spikenard, Treacleberry, Maianthemum racemosum and Smilacina racemosa.

The plant sprouts every year from creeping rhizomes so you usually find its long slightly zigzag stems in sizable clumps.  The leaves' upper surface is parallel to the stem so the plants lean to one side.  Interestingly, an entire clump tends to lean the same direction, all of them showing their leaves to the sun and their white flowers to pollinating bees and beetles.  It looks like the whole clump is doing "The Wave."

False Solomon's Seal produces red berries in the fall that are eaten by birds and rodents.  People sometimes use the plant as a laxative and deer browse it occasionally but it's not one of their favorites.  Perhaps the deer know about its laxative effects.

So this is False Solomon's Seal, but what plant is "true"... and why?  Leave a comment with your answer.

(photo from Wikipedia.  Click on the photo to see the original)

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Now Blooming … and a Quiz”

  1. sharon leadbiteron 25 May 2011 at 8:03 am

    True Solomon’s Seal … “Solomon’s Seal is named for King Solomon of Hebrew lore who was granted great wisdom by the Hebrew God and had a special seal that aided him in his magical workings, allowing him to command demons without coming to harm. According to herbal lore, King Solomon himself placed his seal upon this plant when he recognized its great value. Those with imagination can see the seal on the rootstock in the circular scars left by the stem after it dies back”

    Full page here

    I hope this is what you were looking for 🙂

  2. Marianneon 25 May 2011 at 9:26 am

    The other plant is Solomon’s Seal. They are both in the Lily family.

    I have always wondered about the 2 similar names, so did some research, like Sharon did. My link ( ) says the same thing about King Solomon. Very interesting.

    So, I learned something today! 🙂

  3. Marcy Con 25 May 2011 at 10:11 am

    The true Solomon’s Seal has paired flowers that dangle along the stem…I have both in the yard and the false Solomon’s Seal is much taller and bigger than the other variety…

  4. Donnaon 25 May 2011 at 10:59 am

    I just found this plant under some trees in my yard and wondered what it was. It’s not blooming yet, but now I know what it is!

  5. Gailon 25 May 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I have both False Solomon’s seal and true Solomon’s seal growing on my property. I enjoy them both.

  6. Barb Simonon 25 May 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I think it was true Solomon’s Seal that grew in the woods behind our backyard in Penn Hills when I was a young girl. I watched it come up every spring along with Mayapples and bloodroots. These woodland plants were like my friends. I looked for them every time I wandered up into the woods, but I never knew the reason for the name, or the difference between false and true Solomon’s Seal. Thank you for that.

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