Maianthemum racemosum, False Solomon's Seal

False Solomon's Seal in bloom.
False Solomon's Seal, so named for the ease with which the plant may be confused with the larger Smooth Solomon's Seal, Polygonatum biflorum. At flowering, however, the difference will become quite clear. False Solomon's Seal has a plume of flowers at the tip of the upper stem, whereas Smooth Solomon's Seal gets its botanical moniker, biflorum, from the two flowers (sometimes more) dangling underneath, from the leaf axils.

False Solomon's Seal ought to be a staple of every Minnesotan woodland garden. Typically listed as a shade plant, it is surprisingly sun tolerant. In my own gardens, it does well with at least 6 hours, probably more, in a moist, mineral-clay soil. Deer may be more likely to browse it in broad sunlight, which is not to say you must put a fence around it, but that we must resist the notion of deer-resistant plants. 

Blooms: creamy white, May into June, reddish-brown berries

Height: 1 to 2 feet

Conditions: sun to shade, moist, well-drained to medium-dry soils 

A hearty patch growing in mostly sun with moist soils at Shelterwood.