Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Few False Lily of the Valley

False lily of the Valley Maianthemum dilatatum

False Solomon's seal is a perennial. It grows from rhizomes, it will take over your yard if you let it.

Native Americans ate the young greens, fleshy rhizomes, and the ripe berries of this plant. The rhizomes were cooked after being soaked to get rid of their disagreeable taste. The rhizomes were also utilized as a poultice, and brewed to make a tea to treat rheumatism, sore back, and kidney ailments. The berries were eaten raw, though they do not taste very good. I have also read that the smoke from the leaves was inhaled for head aches. I don't think it has modern uses, I have read conflicting info on these plants and some say they are toxic. I have not spent a lot of time studying these plants, I think they are simply beautiful and a wonderful addition to the woods out here in the Pacific Northwest.

False Solomon's seal is so named because its leaf stalk resembles that of Solomon's seal (Polygonatum multiflorum). However, Solomon's seal has bell-shaped flowers hanging individually along the leaf stalk. Solomon's seal is thought to have gotten its name either from markings on the rhizomes resembling a 6-pointed star, or from the hanging flowers resembling a seal on a document.

Feathery False Lily of the Valley or Feathery False Soloman's seal (top)
Feathery False Solomon's seal. Flower's are on top. The berries are edible, but bitter. It is called false as it has none of the medicinal properties of the eastern Solomon's seal. It did have uses to the Native Americans in this region (Pacific Northwest) but as far as I know it is not used in modern herbalism. I plan on doing more research on these plants just to get to know them, they sure are beautiful!

On my way to the Sandy River her in Oregon there are cliffs that border the road. The Feathery False Solomon's seal hangs from them with it's beautiful flowers, often surrounded by moss and ferns. The smaller False Lily of the Vally is common along the rivers edge.

Resource http://nature.berkeley.edu/comtf/html/host_of_the_month_archive.html

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