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Smilacina racemosa

Smilacina racemosa - false Solomon’s seal (treacleberry)

The North American False Solomon’s seal resembles at first sight our native Angular Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum) and Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum multiflorum). The flowers of the false Solomon’s seal are not, however, in the leaf axils but burst into bloom at the ends of high, gracefully arching stems in June. By autumn they are replaced by bad-tasting, poisonous berries, each of which contains one large seed. As the berries turn red, the leaves develop a beautiful yellow autumn colour. Later in the autumn the yellow leaves turn brown and the shoots turn downwards to the ground. If the berries are not picked or if the ground is not turned over, small seedlings will be found later on near the False Solomon’s seal stand. The seeds usually germinate only in their second spring.

The false Solomon’s seal forms lush stands and is nowadays grouped in the same family as the Finnish native false lily of the valley (May lily, Maianthemum bifolium). The latter is much smaller and does not much resemble the false Solomon’s seal. In the Mustila Arboretum both species may be found in the Macedonian pine (Pinus peuce) stand beneath the Terassi (Terrace).


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