The False Solomon’s Seal

The false Solomon’s seal, referred to scientifically as the maianthemum stellatum, is a species of flowering plant, native across North America generally from Alaska to California to North Carolina to Newfoundland, including every U.S. state with the exception of Hawaii, plus northern Mexico. It is found in the San Bernardino Mountains.
It has the alternate common names of star-flowered, starry, or little false Solomon’s seal; or star-flowered lily-of-the-valley; or starry false lily of the valley.
Maianthemum stellatum is a woodland herbaceous perennial plant, smaller than its close relative M. racemosum. For comparison, M. stellatum has smaller, more open inflorescences, flowers with stamens shorter rather than longer than the petals, and somewhat narrower and more curved leaves. Both species show the characteristic zigzag of the stem between the alternate leaves. True Solomon’s seal (polygonatum species) have a similar overall appearance, but the flowers hang from the stem underneath the leaves, rather than forming a terminal cluster.
The leaves are alternate, stalkless, in two rows to spiraling, flat to folded, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate or elliptic, sharp-pointed, 2 inches to 6 inches long, three-fifths of an inch-to-two inches broad, hairless to strongly short-hairy at least on the lower side, equally heavily veined or with 3 or 5 veins the more prominent.
It has little creamy white buds in the spring, primarily May and June, followed by delicate starry flowers, then green-and-black striped berries, and finally deep red berries in the fall. The flower stalks can be very slender to stout, from no longer than the flowers to four fifths of an inch long. The six tepals are narrowly oblong or lancellate, roughly one fifth of an inch long, about half again as long as the stamen. It features five to ten flowers in a loose, terminal cluster, the axis zigzag or sometimes straight.
The berries are edible when ripe, raw or cooked. The fruit is about the size of a pea and is produced on the plant in small terminal clusters of about two to eight berries with a pleasant bitter-sweet flavor somewhat reminiscent of treacle. The fruit is a good source of vitamin C, and has been used to prevent scurvy. The fruit is said to be laxative in large quantities when eaten raw, especially if one is not used to eating it, though thorough cooking removes the laxative effect. Young leaves are edible, raw or cooked. The young shoots, as they emerge in spring, can be used as an asparagus substitute. The young shoots and leaves are cooked and used as greens. The root is edible cooked. It should be soaked in alkaline water first to get rid of a disagreeable taste. It can be eaten like potatoes.
The false Solomon’s seal was used medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes to treat a variety of maladies. It is rarely used in modern herbalism. A tea made from the roots was drunk to regulate menstrual disorders. A decoction of the leaves has been taken two to three times a day in the treatment of rheumatism and colds. Half a cup of leaf tea drunk daily for a week by a woman is said to prevent conception.
The root is pain-relieving, antiseptic, and has agents that check bleeding, are healing for disorders and diseases of the eye, has substances which give strength and tone to the stomach and are used as a poultice for healing wounds and fresh cuts. A tea has been used in the treatment of stomach complaints, internal pains and reduce in some degree cramping. The dried powdered root has been used in treating wounds and bleeding. The crushed root has been used as a poultice on sprains, boils, swellings and limbs affected by rheumatism. The pulped root has been used as ear drops to treat ear aches. A tea of the roots has been used as a wash for inflamed eyes.
From Wikipedia and

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