While Eurasian lilies-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) are blooming in my garden, these “false lilies of the valley” are blooming in the Laurel Highlands.
Maianthemum canadense are woodland plants that range from the Yukon to Newfoundland to northern Pennsylvania and in the Appalachian Mountains to Georgia. Their preference for cooler temperatures makes them abundant in Canada and they bloom in late May, hence their common name: Canada mayflower.
When you find a patch of Canada mayflowers you’ve found a single organism that spread through its rhizomes. The flowers do produce a few berries but the plant’s most successful propagation is underground.
Lilies-of-the-valley spread underground, too, and have taken over half my garden. The difference between the two is that lilies-of-the-valley are poisonous to wildlife while Canada mayflowers are not.
Watch for them blooming this month in southwestern Pennsylvania. It’s Mayflower time.
(photo by Dianne Machesney)