Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Smilacina

A genus of typically rhizomatous spreading plants with graceful arching stems bearing terminal panicles of greenish-white to creamy-white flowers along their length. Since both male and female plants are required in order to get the attractive fruits, it is recommended to plant multiple plants. The berries last for several months until eaten by birds. The False Solomon's Seals just like the true Solomon's Seals are very beautiful plants that have a place in any shaded garden.
They are very easy to grow on deep, humus-rich, fertile, moist, well drained soil in light shade. Incorporating peat moss into the soil during planting will definately enhance vigor since they like acidic soil.
Mulching with shredded leaves or pine needles is recommended during spring to retain moisture for the summer months, though they are tolerant of the occasional drought once established.
They are rarely bothered by pests or disease.
Propagation can be achieved from seed or division of older crowded clumps done during early spring.

Smilacina formosana
A stunning perennial, reaching up to 5 feet in height, that is native to mountain forests in Taiwan.
The oblong leaves, up to 6 x 2 inches in sizes, are very glossy deep green.
Hardy zones 7 to 9

Smilacina hondoensis ( Hondo Spikenard )
A stunning perennial, reaching up to 8 ( rarely over 3 ) feet in height, that is native to mountain forests in Korea and Honshu Island in Japan.
The lance-shaped to narrowly-elliptical leaves, up to 8 x 2.3 inches in size. The foliage is very glossy deep green.
The white flowers are borne in panicles during early summer.
Hardy zones 4 to 8

Smilacina japonica ( Japanese Spikenard )
A stunning perennial, reaching up to 2 feet in height, that is the Asian counterpart to Smilacina racemosa. It is native to mountain forests in Russia, most of eastern China, Korea and much of Japan.
The finely hairy leaves, up to 6 x 2.8 inches in size, are very glossy deep green.
The creamy-white flowers are borne in nodding clusters during late spring into early summer.
They are followed by red berries, up to 0.3 inches wide.
Hardy zones 4 to 8

'Angel Wings'
Foliage has a thin white margin.

'Halo'
Foliage is boldly margined creamy-white.

'Robusta'
Larger and more vigorous, reaching up to 5 feet.

Smilacina olearina
This east Asian native is the giant of the family, reaching up to 8 feet, that is native to forests in the Himalayas ( from northern India to Yunnan Province in western China; south into northern Burma ).
The elliptical leaves are up to 8.5 x 2.5 inches in size.
Hardy zones 4 to 9. Heat tolerant.

Smilacina racemosa ( False Spikenard )
Also called Maianthemum racemosum. A rhizomatous, dense clump-forming perennial reaching a maximum size of 5 x 6.6 feet in 10 years ( rarely over 3 feet ) that is native to eastern North America ( from Kitsault, British Columbia to Dawson Creek, B.C. to Grande Prairie, Alberta to Slave Lake, Alberta to Lake Nipigon, Ontario to Chapleau, Ontario to Nova Scotia; south to eastern Oklahoma to central Georgia ). It is endangered in Saskatchewan. In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was abundant in southern and western Essex County, the Lake Erie islands and the Ohio shore during the 1800s. It is found in rich open woods in the wild. The False Spikenard can spread up to 1 foot per year and very old plants may form colonies exceeding 10 feet in width, though very easily contained. It always looks best planted in groups rather than singly.
The arching, zigzag stems bear up to 12 deeply-veined, pointed oval leaves, up to 10 x 3 ( rarely over 6 ) inches in size. The foliage is glossy bright green, turning to brilliant yellow in autumn.
The creamy-white flowers are borne in a pyramidal cluster up to 6 inches in length, during late spring to early summer.
They are followed by clusters of showy red berries during summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 ( possibly 2 for Alberta seed source ) in partial to full shade on acidic, moist, fertile, well drained soil.
This is an excellent perennial for use in acidic soil under Pines and Oak.

* photos taken on May 8 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photos taken on October 17 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.


* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC

* photos taken on May 7 2014 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

* photos taken on June 1 2014 @ Maryland Horticulturalist Society garden tour, Columbia

* photos taken on July 27 2015 in Bayfield, ON

* photos taken on July 16 2016 in Bayfield, ON


Smilacina stellata ( Starry Solomon's Seal )
Also called Maianthemum stellatum. A rhizomatous, clump-forming perennial reaching a maximum size of 3.5 x 10 feet, that is native to North America ( from Anchorage, Alaska to central Yukon to Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories to Lake Athabasca, Alberta to Winisk, Ontario to Labrador & Newfoundland; south to California to northern New Mexico to Kansas to northern Kentucky to Virginia ). In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was abundant around Point Pelee, the Lake Erie islands as well as the Ohio shore during the 1800s. It may sometimes be invasive on light soils. It is found on open woods, oak savanna and sand dunes in the wild.
The narrow lance-shaped leaves, up to 6 x 2 inches in size, are mid blue-green above, downy beneath.
The starry, white flowers, up to 2 inches in length, are borne in terminal sprays during late spring.
They are followed by bright red, later turning purplish-black berries.
Hardy zones 2 to 6 ( possibly 1 for far northeast Alberta seed source ) in partial shade on acidic, moist, well drained soil. It is tolerant of dry shade.

* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC

* photos taken on July 27 2015 in Bayfield, ON

* photos taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photo taken on July 14 2016 in Tobermory, ON

* photos taken on July 16 2016 in Bayfield, ON

* historical archive photo


Smilacina trifolia ( Three-Leaved Solomons Seal )
Also called Maianthemum trifolium. An extensive rhizome spreading perennial, only reaching up to 1 foot in height, that is native to northern North America ( from south-central Yukon to central Northwest Territories to Nunuvat to Winisk, Ontario to Labrador & Newfoundland; south to central Minnesota to far northern Illinois to New Jersey ). It is also found in Siberia. It is extinct in Illinois and Ohio, endangered in New Jersey and Connecticut. In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was locally abundant in the great swamp east of Windsor during the 1800s. It often forms dense patches in its native swamps and bogs.
The elliptical leaves are up to 5 x 1.6 inches in size.
The flower clusters, up to 2 inches in length, appear during early summer.
They are followed by red berries, up to 0.2 inches wide.
Hardy zones 2 to 6 ( likely 1 for far northeast Alberta seed source ) in partial shade on moist to wet, acidic soil.

* photo of unknown internet source


Smilacina wilsonii
A spectacular perennial, reaching up to 4 feet, that is native to western China.
The ovate leaves, are up to 10 inches in length.
Hardy zones 4 to 8.

Related Plants

Maianthemum

Maianthemum bifolium
A rhizomatous, spreading, groundcover perennial, reaching up to 10 inches x 4 feet, that is native to coniferous forests from western Europe to northern Japan.
The upright stems each bear 2 heart-shaped leaves, up to 3 x 1.6 inches in size. The foliage is glossy deep green.
The very small flowers are borne on narrow spikes of up to 20 during late spring.
They are followed by red berries.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in partial to full shade on moist, cool, acidic soils. Propagation is from division during early spring or from seed sown upon ripening.

Maianthemum canadense ( Two-Leafed Solomons Seal )
A rhizomatous, dense, mat-forming groundcover perennial, reaching up to 8 inches x 3.3 feet, that is native to moist rich forests in northeast North America ( from southwest Yukon to central Northwest Territories to Dauphin, Manitoba to Pickle Lake, Ontario to Fort Albany, Ontario to central Quebec to Labrador & Newfoundland; south to northern Iowa to eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia to Delaware ). It is endangered in Nebraska and Kentucky; extinct in Montana. In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was locally common around Point Pelee as well as the Ohio shore. It was abundant at Detroit, Michigan during that time.
Each stem bears 1 to 3 oval to rounded leaves, up to 4 x 2 inches in size. The foliage is rich deep green.
The fragrant, very small, white flowers are borne on spikes up to 2 inches in length, during late spring.
They are followed by pale red berries.
Hardy zones 1 to 7 in partial to full shade on moderately moist, humus-rich, well drained soil.

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC

* photos taken on Apr 17 2016 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC


Maianthemum dilatatum
Also called Maianthemum bifolium supsp kamschaticum.
A fast growing, rhizomatous spreading, groundcover perennial, reaching up to 16 inches x 4 feet, that is native to the Kamchatka peninsula in far eastern Asia as well as the Pacific Northwest of North America ( from Kodiak, Alaska to Anchorage, Alaska to Prince George, British Columbia to Jasper National Park, Alberta; south to northern California to northern Idaho ). This mountain woodland plant is endangered in Idaho. This beautiful plant makes a useful groundcover plant for the cool shaded landscape.
The upright stems each bear 2 heart-shaped leaves, up to 8 x 4 inches.
The very small flowers are borne on narrow spikes, up to 2 inches long, during mid to late spring.
They are followed by red berries.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 in partial to full shade on moist, fertile, acidic, well drained soil. It is tolerant of deep shade and drought.

* historical archive photo

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