STARRY SPIKENARD
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Maianthemum stellatum   (L. ) Link
[=Smilacina stellata  (L. ) Desf.]
Osborne County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 8-24 inches
Family: Asparagaceae - Asparagus Family
Flowering Period:   April, May, June
Also Called: False solomon's-seal.
Stems: Usually erect, sometimes ascending, unbranched, finely hairy or glabrous.
Leaves: Alternate, cauline, strongly ascending or spreading, sessile and clasping; blade parallel-veined, lanceolate or lance-oblong, 3.4 to 5 inches long, .6 to 1.6 inch wide, base tapered, margins entire, tip acute, lower surface finely pubescent, upper surface glabrous.
Inflorescences: Raceme, terminal, .8 to 2 inches long, 6-20-flowered; pedicels 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
Flowers: Bisexual, radially symmetric, spreading; tepals 6, greenish white or white, petal-like, narrowly lanceolate to elliptic or obovate, .12 to .28 inch; perianth rotate; stamens 6, filaments distinct; stigma obscurely 3-lobed.
Fruits: Berries green when young, maturing dark red, globose, 1/4 to 2/5 inch; seeds 1-6, brown, globose, 1/6 to 1/4 inch.
Habitat: Mesic oak-hickory and floodplain forests, and shaded canyons
Distribution: Nearly throughout Kansas
Origin: Native
Uses: The rhizomes of Maianthemum, after presoaking in lye and then boiled in water, were used as a minor food source by some Native Americans. The berries have cathartic properties but are eaten by some birds and small mammals.
Comments: Maianthemum, May and flower and stellatum starry, alluding to the flowers. Arises from long, slender, creeping rhizomes.

Starry spikenard leaves
94 KB
Osborne County, Kansas
Starry spikenard flower
55 KB
Osborne County, Kansas
Starry spikenard fruit
51 KB
Osborne County, Kansas