WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

This colony-forming plant with 6–20-inch tall, stout, unbranched stems spreads by rhizomes. Broad, sword-like leaves with parallel veins line the stem with a terminal spike-like cluster of star-shaped, white flowers. Note only one flower blooms on each short side branch.


FLOWERS: May–July. Each 1–4-inch long (2.5–10 cm) terminal cluster (raceme) has 6–18 flowers borne singly on short side branches; flowers have 6 petal-like tepals 1/4-inch long (8 mm). Note the 6 stamens are shorter than the petal-like tepals. Fruit a round, red berry about 3/8-inch dia. (8 mm).


LEAVES: Alternate on opposite sides of stem. Blades broad, lance-shaped, 2–6-inches long (5–15 cm), base rounded, tips pointed, margins entire.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly loam soils, streambanks, shaded areas; ponderosa-oak, Douglas fir, spruce-fir forests.


ELEVATION: 6,500–12,100 feet.


RANGE: Widespread western and northern states east to Atlantic.


SIMILAR SPECIES: False Solomon’s-Seal, M. racemosum, in the same range and habitats, has a flower panicle with small branches covered with multiple flowers. The False Solomon’s-Seal genus, Maianthemum, is variously placed in the Lily (Liliaceae), Asparagus (Asparagaceae), and Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallariaceae) families.


NM COUNTIES: Widespread statewide in mountains in mid- to high-elevation habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Grant, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union.

STAR  SOLOMON’S-SEAL

MAIANTHEMUM STELLATUM

Asparagus Family, Asparagaceae (formerly in Lily Family, Liliaceae)

Perennial herb

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Flowers in clusters on stem tips.  Alternate leaves with parallel veins grow on opposite sides of the stem.

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