Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

Starry False Solomon's Seal has attractive foilage, flowers, and berries. It can be distinguished from Smilacina racemosa (False Solomon's Seal) by the narrower leaves and spike-like inflorescence. The latter plant has a plume-like inflorescence that consists of a spreading raceme. Another plant with similar foliage, Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth Solomon's Seal), has broader leaves that are pale green. However, the flowers of this species occur in pairs underneath the leaves along the stem. Another scientific name for Starry False Solomon's Seal is Maianthemum stellatum. Return
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Description

This native perennial plant is 1-2½' tall and unbranched. The central stem is stout, smooth, and zigzags slightly. It usually reclines to the side somewhat, rather than being held stiffly erect with respect to the ground. The alternate leaves are narrowly ovate, with parallel veins and smooth margins. They are up to 6" long and 2" across, and are sessile to the central stem, or have short petioles. The undersides of the leaves may be slightly pubescent.  The central stem terminates in a single inflorescence consisting of small white flowers. This inflorescence is a narrow raceme (almost spike-like) about 1-4" long. Each flower has 6 narrow tepals, 6 stamens with yellow anthers, and a central pistil that is shaped like a vase with a long, narrow neck. When fully open, each star-like flower is about 1/3" across. The blooming period occurs during late spring and lasts about 3 weeks. There is a mild floral fragrance. Each flower is replaced by a small berry about ¼" across. The berries are initially green with purple or black stripes, but later become bright red. The root system consists of stout rhizomes, which form vegetative colonies readily.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Occurrence in North America

     AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  ID  IL  IN
     IA  KS  KY  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MT  NE
     NV  NH  NJ  NM  NY  NC  ND  OH  OK  OR
     PA  RI  SC  SD  TN  TX  UT  VT  VA  WA
     WV  WI  WY  AB  BC  MB  ON  PQ  SK  YT
     MEXICO

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Starry Solomon's-seal occurs widely over much of North America and
Canada.  It ranges from Alaska to California; northern British Columbia to
the southern Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona; east to
the New England states, and south through the Carolinas [1,9].

 
  • 1.  Antos, Joseph A.; Zobel, Donald B. 1984. Ecological implications of        belowground morphology of nine coniferous forest herbs. Botanical        Gazette. 145(4): 508-517.  [17417]
  • 9.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    1  Northern Pacific Border
    2  Cascade Mountains
    3  Southern Pacific Border
    4  Sierra Mountains
    5  Columbia Plateau
    6  Upper Basin and Range
    7  Lower Basin and Range
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
    9  Middle Rocky Mountains
   11  Southern Rocky Mountains
   12  Colorado Plateau
   13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont
   14  Great Plains
   15  Black Hills Uplift
   16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

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Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Ariz., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.Dak., Tenn., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.; disjunct in nw Mexico.
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It is found throughout the Great Lakes region of the US, and from New England and Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to Virginia, and west to California. It is also found in northern Asia. (Weatherbee, 2006)

USA: AK , AZ , AR , CA , CO , CT , ID , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MO , MT , NE , NV , NH , NJ , NM , NY , ND , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SD , TN , UT , VT , VA , WA , WV , WI , WY , DC (NPIN, 2009)

Canada: AB , BC , NB , NL , NS , ON , PE , SK (NPIN, 2009)

Native Distribution: AK to Lab., s. to VA, AR, NM mts. & CA (NPIN, 2009)

USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N), SPM(N) (NPIN, 2009)

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: forb, rhizome

Starry Solomon's-seal is a rhizomatous perennial forb approximately 8 to
24 inches (20-60 cm) tall.  The stem is erect and the leaves are
alternate.  It has 5 to 10 white flowers in a terminal raceme.  The
fruits are globose.  The roots of starry Solomon's-seal are dimorphic.
A large root that grows straight downward occurs at the junction between
some segments; numerous small roots emanate in all directions from the
rhizome [1].

Plant part values for starry Solomon' seal from central Oregon are as
follows [1]:   

                                   Mean  (+ or - SE)
                                 -------------------
Rhizome length (m)                  8.06    (3.2)
No. aerial shoots                  21.00      (8)
No. leaves                        201.00     (63)
No. roots                       1,300.00    (500)
Max. root length (m)                0.25    (.03)
Max root depth (m)                  0.23    (.02)
No. of roots per
 meter of rhizome                 168.00     (23)
Min. rhizome diameter (mm)          2.10    (0.1)
Max. rhizome diameter (mm)          3.90    (0.1)
Rhizome dry weight (g)             12.37    (4.6)
Root dry weight (g)                 2.66    (.86)
Leaf area (m 2)                     0.11    (.04)
Rhizome dry weight per    
 unit length (g/m)                  1.58    (.15)   
Max. leaf height (m)                0.18    (.01)

n=7                        
  • 1.  Antos, Joseph A.; Zobel, Donald B. 1984. Ecological implications of        belowground morphology of nine coniferous forest herbs. Botanical        Gazette. 145(4): 508-517.  [17417]

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Description

Plants terrestrial, 15–45 cm. Rhizomes sympodial, proliferatively spreading, narrow-cylindrical, units 15–60 cm × 3–4.5 mm, roots scattered over surfaces. Stems erect, 2.5–5 dm × 2–3.5 mm. Leaves 8–11, sessile, clasping; blade ovate-elliptic to lanceolate, 5–6 × 2.5–3.5 cm; base rounded; apex acute. Inflorescences racemose, simple, 6–15-flowered. Flowers 1 per node, 3-merous; tepals conspicuous, 4–5 × 1.5–2 mm; filaments 1.2–1.5 mm; anthers 0.6–0.8 mm; ovary globose to cylindrical, ca. 1 mm wide; style 1.3–1.8 mm; stigma obscurely 3-lobed; pedicel 6–12 × 0.8–1 mm. Berries green with black stripes along median carpel vein when young, maturing to red, globose, 4–6 mm diam. Seeds 1–6, globose, 2.5–3 mm. 2n = 36.
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Overall the plant has a star-shaped flower, reddish fruit with black stripes, and four or more narrow leaves. (Weatherbee, 2006) It is upright and sometimes arching. (Wells et al, 1999)

Flowers The raceme is sessile and short. Flowers are on solitary pedicels (stems), in a simple, few-flowered raceme. The stamens are snorter than the larger perianth segments. Flowers are white and fragrant. (Peattie, 1930) The numerous, white, star-shaped flowers are made up of six parts called tepals (similar looking petals and sepals). Flowers are formed in a raceme (an elongated flower head in which each flower has its own stem). The flowers are never numerous, so the individual flowers stand out with their starry shape. (Weatherbee, 2006) 10-30 small, showy white flowers are born on long, stiffly erect pedicels. (Wells et al, 1999) Tiny flowers bloom at the stem tip. (Hultman, 1978) Starry flowers are on an inflorescence with a few to several flowers in a narrow, terminal, almost stalkless cluster (raceme). (UW, 2009) Flowers occur 1 per node, and are 3-merous. The tepals are conspicuous. (FNA, 2003)

Fruit is a globular berry that is 1-2 seeded. It begins greenish or yellowish-white speckled with madder brown. It matures to a dull, ruby red. (Peattie, 1930) The ripe fruit is pinkish red, maturing to dark red with black stripes. (Weatherbee, 2006) Berries become reddish-brown with purplish black markings. (Wells et al, 1999) The brownish or speckled berry turns red or black when fully ripened. (Hultman, 1978) Berries green with black stripes along median carpel vein when young, maturing to red

Leaves are smooth or minutely downy. There are 7-12 oblong-lanceolate leaves which are slightly clasping when young. Leaves are alternately nerved. (Peattie, 1930) Leaves are often folded, spread horizontally, or are somewhat ascending. They are lanceolate (longer than wide and widest below the middle of the leaf. The leaf base is blunt or rounded, and the leaf gradually tapers to a pointed tip. The leaves are slightly hairy underneath, are sessile (stemless), and often slightly clasp the stem. (Weatherbee, 2006) Leaves are in ranks of two along each side of the stem. (Wells et al, 1999) Broad leaves have parallel vein. (Hultman, 1978) Alternate leaves occur 6 or more to a stem. They are lance-like with pointed tips, clasping, and undersides that are finely hairy. (UW, 2009)

Stems Rootstock slender. Stems are simple. (Peattie, 1930) The slightly curved stem is single and either hairy or glabrous (not hairy). (Weatherbee, 2006) Extensive underground stems enable single plants to form dense colonies. Stems are slightly zigzag. (Wells et al, 1999) Stems are not branched below the flowers. (UW, 2009) roots scattered over surfaces

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Size

Plant is 20-50 cm tall. (Peattie, 1930) The plant may be 6" to 2' in height. (Wells et al, 1999) Up to 1'. (Hultman, 1978) It is 8"-24" tall. (UW, 2009) The plant is 15–45 cm tall. (FNA, 2003)

Flowers are 4-5 mm long. (Peattie, 1930) The raceme is 2-5 cm. (.75-2") long. The flowers are 8-10 mm (up to 3/8") wide. (Weatherbee, 2006) 1/3" wide flowers are on a 2" long raceme. (UW, 2009) Tepals are 4–5 × 1.5–2 mm. Filaments are 1.2–1.5 mm. Anthers are 0.6–0.8 mm. The ovary is roughly 1 mm wide. The style is 1.3–1.8 mm. The pedicel is 6–12 × 0.8–1 mm. (FNA, 2003)

Fruit is 6-10 mm (.25-3/8") wide. (Weatherbee, 2006) The berry is 4–6 mm in diameter and the seeds are 2.5–3 mm in diameter. (FNA, 2003)

Stems 18-60 cm (7-24") long. (Weatherbee, 2006) The stem is 8-10". (NPIN, 2009) Rhizome units are 15–60 cm × 3–4.5 mm. Stems are 2.5–5 dm × 2–3.5 mm. (FNA, 2003)

Leaves are 6-15 cm (2.5-6") long by 2-5 cm (.75-2") wide. (Weatherbee, 2006) Leaves are 5–6 × 2.5–3.5 cm. (FNA, 2003)

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Diagnostic Description

Perennial herb with arching leafy stems from a forking rhizome. Leaves alternate , sessile, lanceolate with pointed tips. Inflorescence terminal, a raceme. Flowers white, tepals 6, spreading. Fruit a greenish black striped berry.

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Synonym

Convallaria stellata Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 316. 1753; Smilacina liliacea (Greene) Wynd; S. stellata (Linnaeus) Desfontaines; Unifolium liliaceum Greene; U. sessilifolium (Nuttall ex Baker) Greene; U. stellatum (Linnaeus) Greene; Vagnera liliacea (Greene) Rydberg; V. sessilifolia (Nuttall ex Baker) Greene; V. stellata (Linnaeus) Morong
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Type Information

Isolectotype for Smilacina stellata (L.) Desf.
Catalog Number: US 36053
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): W. W. Bailey
Year Collected: 1867
Locality: Truckee Pass., Washoe, Nevada, United States, North America
  • Isolectotype: Greene, E. L. 1889. Pittonia. 1: 280.; Reveal, J. L. 1977. Intermountain Fl. 6: 484.
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Look Alikes

Less showy than Maianthemum racemosum. (Peattie, 1930) Polygonatum pubescens (Downy Solomon's Seal) has rows of short hairs on the underside of the leaf veins, Polygonatum biflorum (True Solomon's Seal) has dark blue berries in the leaf axils, and Smilacina trifolia (Three-leaved Solomon's Seal) has three leaves (and occasionally 2-4). (Weatherbee, 2006)
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Ecology

Habitat

Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: forbs, shrub

Starry Solomon's-seal is an indicator species in a wide variety of
habitats.  It generally occurs on moist sites supporting overstories
consisting of cottonwoods and aspens (Populus spp.), oaks (Quercus
spp.), Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), lodgepole pine (Pinus
contorta), and spruce (Picea spp.).  Understory associates range from
grass species such as bluegrasses (Poa spp.) and wheatgrasses (Agropyron
spp.) to moist site forbs such as bedstraws (Galium spp.), western
meadowrue (Thalictrum occidentale), and false Solomon's-seal (Maianthemum
racemosum).  Shrub associates generally include willows (Salix spp.),
serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), and Douglas hawthorn (Crataegus
douglasii) [20,25,29,31].

Published classifications listing starry Solomon's-seal as an indicator
or dominant species in habitat types (hts) or community types (cts) are
as follows:

Area               Classification          Authority
----               --------------          ---------
CO                 Forest (hts)            Wasser & Hess 1982
e ID, w WY         Riparian (cts)          Youngblood & others 1985
MT                 Forest (hts)            Pfister & others 1977
ND                 Forest (hts)            Severson & Thilenius 1976
  • 20.  Pfister, Robert D.; Kovalchik, Bernard L.; Arno, Stephen F.; Presby,        Richard C. 1977. Forest habitat types of Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep.        INT-34. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 174 p.  [1878]
  • 25.  Severson, Kieth E.; Thilenius, John F. 1976. Classification of quaking        aspen stands in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains. Res. Pap.        RM-166. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 24 p.        [2111]
  • 29.  Wasser, C. H.; Hess, Karl. 1982. The habitat types of Region II, U.S.        Forest Service: a synthesis. Final Report Cooperative Agreement No.        16-845-CA. Lakewood, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Region 2. 140 p.  [5594]
  • 31.  Youngblood, Andrew P.; Padgett, Wayne G.; Winward, Alma H. 1985.        Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho - western        Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 78 p.  [2686]

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: cover

   Common in many SAF Cover Types

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   Common in many Kuchler Plant Associations

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES19  Aspen - birch
   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES22  Western white pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce
   FRES25  Larch
   FRES26  Lodgepole pine
   FRES27  Redwood
   FRES28  Western hardwoods
   FRES41  Wet grasslands

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Habitat characteristics

Starry Solomon's-seal is generally an indicator of moist environments;
however, it also occurs on rocky, well-drained sidehills and coastal
plains [4,9].  Tester [27] listed starry Solomon's-seal as a true
prairie species.  Starry Solomon's-seal is common in thickets and open
forests on gently sloping benches adjacent to streams.  It has also been
found as high as the lower subalpine zone on slopes ranging from 15 to
25 percent [13,31].  Elevational range of starry Solomon's-seal is
generally from 4,400 to 8,700 feet (1341-2650 m).

Soil:  Starry Solomon's-seal is usually found on shallow soils derived
from calcareous and noncalcareous parent materials.  Soil texture ranges
from gravelly loams to silt and sandy loams.  Soil acidity is often
neutral to acidic (average pH 5.9) [20,25,29,31].
 
  • 13.  Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central        Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 648 p.  [13798]
  • 20.  Pfister, Robert D.; Kovalchik, Bernard L.; Arno, Stephen F.; Presby,        Richard C. 1977. Forest habitat types of Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep.        INT-34. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 174 p.  [1878]
  • 25.  Severson, Kieth E.; Thilenius, John F. 1976. Classification of quaking        aspen stands in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains. Res. Pap.        RM-166. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 24 p.        [2111]
  • 27.  Tester, John R. 1989. Effects of fire frequency on oak savanna in        east-central Minnesota. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 116(2):        134-144.  [9281]
  • 29.  Wasser, C. H.; Hess, Karl. 1982. The habitat types of Region II, U.S.        Forest Service: a synthesis. Final Report Cooperative Agreement No.        16-845-CA. Lakewood, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Region 2. 140 p.  [5594]
  • 31.  Youngblood, Andrew P.; Padgett, Wayne G.; Winward, Alma H. 1985.        Riparian community type classification of eastern Idaho - western        Wyoming. R4-Ecol-85-01. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,        Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 78 p.  [2686]
  • 4.  Cholewa, Anita F.; Johnson, Frederic D. 1983. Secondary succession in        the Pseudotsuga menziesii/Phyaocarpus malvaceus association. Northwest        Science. 57(4): 273-282.  [11402]
  • 9.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]

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Sand dunes, marginal woodlands, oak openings; 0--3200m.
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Present on the inward facing slope of front dunes. (Peattie, 1930) It grows on sandy shores and dunes and in forests and edges of forests. It is also found in sandy areas inland. (Weatherbee, 2006) It occurs along Great Lakes shores, in nearby thickets, inland meadows, and particularly abundant on dunes and beaches. (Wells et al, 1999) This plant prefers prairie, moist open ground, and sand dunes. (Hultman, 1978) The plant will live in full to partial sun, dry to moderate moisture areas, and in sandy, loamy soil. It inhabits prairies, woods, sands, beaches. (UW, 2009) Native habitat consists of moist woods, gravelly or alluvial shores, thickets, meadows, and savannas. (NPIN, 2009) The plant inhabits sand dunes, marginal woodlands, and oak openings; up to 3200 m in elevation. (FNA, 2003)
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Dispersal

The plant spreads easily through the sand by means of stolons, which help stabilize the sand. (Weatherbee, 2006) Extensive underground stems enable single plants to form dense colonies. (Wells et al, 1999)
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers attract Halictid bees (including Green Metallic bees), flower flies, and Tachinid flies primarily. These insects seek nectar or pollen. The berries are eaten by woodland songbirds, including various woodland thrushes and the Veery, as well as the White-Footed Mouse. These animals help to distribute the seeds. Deer often feed on the foilage, cropping the stems to about 6" above the ground. Photographic Location
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Starry False Solomon's Seal in Illinois

Smilacina stellata (Starry False Solomon's Seal)
(bees collect pollen or suck nectar; flies and beetles suck nectar or feed on pollen; other insects suck nectar; observations are from Graenicher, and Krombein et al., Robertson, and Swengel & Swengel as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn (Gr); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus ternarius sn (Gr), Bombus vagans sn (Gr); Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata sn (Rb); Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada cressonii sn (Rb, Gr), Nomada cuneatus sn (Gr); Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia coerulescens sn (Gr)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn cp (Gr), Augochlora purus purus sn cp (Rb), Augochlorella aurata sn cp (Rb), Augochlorella striata sn cp (Rb, Gr), Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn cp (Rb, Gr), Halictus confusus sn cp (Gr), Halictus rubicunda sn cp (Rb, Gr), Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp (Rb, Gr), Lasioglossum laevissimus sn cp olg (Rb), Lasioglossum macoupinensis sn cp (Rb), Lasioglossum obscurus sn cp (Rb), Lasioglossum zephyrus sn cp (Gr); Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes smilacinae sn (Rb); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena carlini sn (Rb), Andrena cressonii sn cp (Rb, Gr), Andrena nasonii sn (Gr), Andrena nigrihirta (Kr), Andrena nivalis sn (Gr), Andrena sigmundi sn (Gr)

Wasps
Vespidae (Eumeninae): Parancistrocerus pensylvanicus (Gr)

Flies
Bombyliidae: Bombylius major sn (Rb); Stratiomyidae: Odontomyia pubescens (Gr); Syrphidae: Eristalis arbustorum (Gr), Eristalis dimidiatus (Gr), Helophilus chrysostomus (Gr), Helophilus fasciatus (Gr), Mallota bautias (Gr), Neoascia globosa (Gr), Parhelophilus laetus (Gr), Sphaerophoria continqua (Gr), Syritta pipiens (Gr), Toxomerus geminatus (Gr), Toxomerus marginatus (Gr), Tropidia quadrata (Gr), Xylota ejuncida (Gr); Tachinidae: Archytas analis (Gr), Gonia capitata (Gr), Gymnoclytia immaculata (Gr), Melanophrys insolita (Gr), Siphona geniculata (Gr), Tachinomyia panaetius (Gr); Muscidae: Hydrotaea sp. (Gr); Sarcophagidae: Sarcophaga sp. (Gr)

Butterflies
Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis sn (Sw); Pieridae: Pieris rapae sn (Gr)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Poanes zabulon sn (Gr)

Beetles
Scarabaeidae (Cetonniae): Trichiotinus piger sn fp (Gr)

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Ruffed Grouse eat berries, as do gray-checked thrushes, veeries, and white-footed mice. (Weatherbee, 2006)
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General Ecology

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: fire use, prescribed fire

Lyon's Research Paper provides further information on prescribed
fire use and postfire response of plant species including starry
Solomon's-seal.

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: duff, frequency

Starry Solomon's-seal is moderately resistant to fire-kill.  It may,
however, be killed by fire that removes the duff layer and heats the
upper mineral layer [5].  In northern Idaho, starry Solomon's-seal cover
percentage was reduced the first growing season after a
moderate-severity fire.  It regained or surpassed all prefire
frequencies by the fourth growing season [14].  Following prescribed
burning in northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis) in central
Minnesota, the average frequency value on burned sites (15.5) was higher
than on unburned sites (11.0) [30].
  • 14.  Leege, Thomas A.; Godbolt, Grant. 1985. Herebaceous response following        prescribed burning and seeding of elk range in Idaho. Northwest Science.        59(2): 134-143.  [1436]
  • 30.  White, Alan S. 1983. The effects of thirteen years of annual prescribed        burning on a Quercus ellipsoidalis community in Minnesota. Ecology.        64(5): 1081-1085.  [3518]
  • 5.  Crane, M. F.; Fischer, William C. 1986. Fire ecology of the forest        habitat types of central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-218. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 85 p.  [5297]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: rhizome

   Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
   Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community)

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Fire Ecology

Starry Solomon's-seal is considered a survivor species following fire.
Its fire adaptation strategy is via sprouting from surviving rhizomes
located in mineral soil [5].
  • 5.  Crane, M. F.; Fischer, William C. 1986. Fire ecology of the forest        habitat types of central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-218. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 85 p.  [5297]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: cover

Facultative Seral Species

Starry Solomon's-seal is generally a seral herb species.  On dune sites
near Lake Michigan, it has remained dominant for more than a 1,000
years.  It is eventually replaced by false Solomon's-seal on the oldest
dunes [18].  Starry Solomon's-seal showed a variety of successional
responses to silvicultural treatments of western redcedar/western
hemlock (Thuja plicata/Tsuga heterophylla) stands in northern Idaho.  It
showed the highest coverage values within stands treated by shelterwood
methods compared to those receiving partial thinning, clearcut, or
selection harvest methods.  All stands had been treated by regenerative
or stand improvement methods between 5 and 25 years prior to sampling
[11].  Starry Solomon's-seal showed a higher percent cover in climax
stands of Douglas-fir/ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus) habitat types in
northern Idaho, than on burned, logged, or grazed sites of the same type
[4].
  • 11.  Irwin, Larry L. 1976. Effects of intensive silviculture on big game        forage sources in northern Idaho. In: Hieb, S., ed. Proceedings,        elk-logging roads symposium. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho: 135-142.        [16146]
  • 18.  Olson, Jerry S. 1958. Rates of succession and soil changes on southern        Lake Michigan sand dunes. Botanical Gazette. 119(3): 125-170.  [10557]
  • 4.  Cholewa, Anita F.; Johnson, Frederic D. 1983. Secondary succession in        the Pseudotsuga menziesii/Phyaocarpus malvaceus association. Northwest        Science. 57(4): 273-282.  [11402]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: natural, rhizome

Starry Solomon's-seal regenerates primarily through rhizomes.  Its
rhizomes grow rapidly and develop into long, complex systems.  Rhizome
plasticity after burial is moderate.  Following burial by volcanic
tephra from Mount St. Helens, Starry Solomon's-seal was observed to
sprout from rhizomes upward through the ash [2].  The roots of starry
Solomon's-seal steadily die-off so that the oldest rhizome segments have
few roots remaining [1].

Contents of starry Solomon's-seal rhizome per meter length from the
Cascade Mountain Range, Oregon and Washington, are as follows [33]:

           Oven-dry   
            weight    water   energy   carbohydrates   N    P    K    shoots
             (g)       (g)     (kj)        (mg)       (mg) (mg) (mg)   (no.)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maianthemum  1.96      5.6     35.2         376        12   6    30     2.1
stellatum

The rhizomes can produce aerial stems.  These are determinate, annual
shoots which normally bear seven to nine leaves and occasionally produce
flowers at the tip.  Aerial shoots are produced on both long and short
rhizome segments in most years [1].  In northern Idaho, aboveground
production was greater on grazed plots [1.44 pounds/acre (3.20 kg/ha)]
than on ungrazed plots [0.58 lbs/acre (1.30 kg/ha)] [32].

Seed:  No information concerning seed viability was found.  The probable
mode of dissemination is through fruit consumption by wildlife.
Pollination patterns indicate that larger starry Solomon's-seal
inflorescences attract more insect visits than do small inflorescences.
This differential favoritism is considered to be a determining factor of
plant distribution when such uneven visitation activity persists from
year to year [23].

Morphological characteristics of starry Solomon's-seal fruit from the
Rainbow Creek Research Natural Area, southeastern Washington, are as
follows [21]:

                                   Mean              Standard Error
                                   ----              --------------
Fruit Diameter (mm)                8.37                  0.12
Fruit Mass (mg)                  305.88                 13.63
Pulp Dry Mass (mg)                34.31                  1.43
No. of Seeds per Fruit             2.21                  0.11
Fresh Seed Mass per Fruit (mg)    40.51                  1.99
Fresh Pulp Mass (mg)               7.01                  0.22

n=100
  • 1.  Antos, Joseph A.; Zobel, Donald B. 1984. Ecological implications of        belowground morphology of nine coniferous forest herbs. Botanical        Gazette. 145(4): 508-517.  [17417]
  • 2.  Antos, Joseph A.; Zobel, Donald B. 1985. Plant form, developmental        plasticity and survival following burial by volcanic tephra. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 63: 2083-2090.  [12553]
  • 21.  Piper, Jon K. 1986. Seasonality of fruit characters and seed removal by        birds. Oikos. 46: 303-310.  [15348]
  • 23.  Piper, Jon K. 1989. Light, flowering, and fruiting within patches of        Smilacina racemosa and Smilacina stellata (Liliaceae). Bulletin of the        Torrey Botanical Club. 116(3): 247-257.  [11116]
  • 32.  Zimmerman, G. T.; Neuenschwander, L. F. 1984. Livestock grazing        influences on community structure, fire intensity, and fire frequency        within the Douglas-fir/ninebark habitat type. Journal of Range        Management. 37(2): 104-110.  [10103]
  • 33.  Zobel, Donald B.; Antos, Joseph A. 1987. Composition of rhizomes of        forest herbaceous plants in relation to morphology, ecology, and burial        by tephra. Botanical Gazette. 148(4): 490-500.  [3882]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

  
   Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: forb

Forb

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Fire will consume all aboveground parts of starry Solomon's-seal.

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Ecology

The plant spreads easily through the sand by means of stolons, which help stabilize the sand. (Weatherbee, 2006) On dune sites near Lake Michigan, it has remained dominant for more than a 1,000 years. This plant is considered a survivor species following fire. Its fire adaptation strategy is to sprout from surviving rhizomes located in mineral soil. (USDA FEIS, 1992)
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Shoots of starry Solomon's-seal generally appear in late April, and
flowering occurs from late May through early June [23].
  • 23.  Piper, Jon K. 1989. Light, flowering, and fruiting within patches of        Smilacina racemosa and Smilacina stellata (Liliaceae). Bulletin of the        Torrey Botanical Club. 116(3): 247-257.  [11116]

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Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering mid or late spring.
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July and August are flowering months. (Peattie, 1930) Flowering occurs in May to early summer. (Wells et al, 1999) The plant blooms May-June. (UW, 2009)
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Life Expectancy

This is a perennial. (UW, 2009)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

2n = 36. (FNA, 2003)
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Maianthemum stellatum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Maianthemum stellatum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 21
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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This plant and synonyms below are listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. In Arizona Maianthemum stellatum is listed as Salvage restricted. In Kentucky starry false solomon-seal is listed as Endangered. In Maryland Smilacina stellata, star-flowered false Solomon's-seal is listed as Endangered. In Tennessee Smilacina stellata, starflower false solomon's-seal is listed as Endangered. (USDA PLANTS, 2009)
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Management

Management considerations

More info for the term: forb

Management of starry Solomon's-seal is indirect.  This forb generally
occurs individually or in small clusters distributed over a short
distance.  Overstory management techniques that can damage the ground
surface should be limited to seasons of least potential impact; e.g.
winter timber harvesting.  Harvesting should be restricted to
rubber-tire vehicles and aerial skidding techniques.  Overgrazing of
this species by livestock or wildlife does not seem to be a problem due
to its rhizomatous nature [1,4].
  • 1.  Antos, Joseph A.; Zobel, Donald B. 1984. Ecological implications of        belowground morphology of nine coniferous forest herbs. Botanical        Gazette. 145(4): 508-517.  [17417]
  • 4.  Cholewa, Anita F.; Johnson, Frederic D. 1983. Secondary succession in        the Pseudotsuga menziesii/Phyaocarpus malvaceus association. Northwest        Science. 57(4): 273-282.  [11402]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

This plant prefers moist to slightly dry conditions and partial sunlight. It will also tolerate light shade and full sunlight. It is not particular about soil texture, but often grows in sandy soil in native habitats. Insects and disease are rarely bothersome. Range & Habitat
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Nutritional Value

More info for the term: natural

Nutritional data of starry Solomon's-seal fruits from the Rainbow Creek
Research Natural Area, southeast Washington, are as follows* [21]:

                            Mean       Standard Error
                           ------      --------------
Protein                     2.860          0.03
Lipid                       1.040          0.09
Neutral Detergent Fiber     7.320          0.12
Ash                         3.500          0.06
Calcium                     0.079          ----
Magnesium                   0.049          ----
Phosphorus                  0.225          ----
Potassium                   1.421          ----

* All values are percentages based on dry-pulp masses.

Concentrations of nutrient elements in starry Solomon's-seal rhizomes
sampled in late summer from the Cascade Mountain Range, Oregon and
Washington, are as follows [33]:

                           Mean
                          ------
Nitrogen (%)               0.61
Phosphorus (%)             0.31
Potassium (%)              1.51
Calcium (%)                0.19
Magnesium (%)              0.08
Manganese (mg/kg)         46.00
Iron (mg/kg)             102.00
Zinc (mg/kg)              32.00
Molybdenum (mg/kg)         0.05
  • 21.  Piper, Jon K. 1986. Seasonality of fruit characters and seed removal by        birds. Oikos. 46: 303-310.  [15348]
  • 33.  Zobel, Donald B.; Antos, Joseph A. 1987. Composition of rhizomes of        forest herbaceous plants in relation to morphology, ecology, and burial        by tephra. Botanical Gazette. 148(4): 490-500.  [3882]

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Palatability

Palatability of starry Solomon's-seal is rated fair to poor.  Piper [22]
found no frugivory of green fruits of starry Solomon's-seal, suggesting
toxicity or unpalatability of unripe pericarps protecting the immature
seeds.  In livestock palatability ratings for the Intermountain West
starry Solomon's-seal was listed as "poor" for cattle and horses, and
"fair" for sheep [6].
  • 22.  Piper, Jon K. 1986. Germination and growth of bird-dispersed plants:        effects of seed size and light on seedling vigor and biomass allocation.        American Journal of Botany. 73(7): 959-965.  [5033]
  • 6.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]

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Other uses and values

The Nuxalk Indians of British Columbia collected the ripe berries from
starry Solomon's-seal from July to August for food [15].
  • 15.  Lepofsky, Dana; Turner, Nancy J.; Kuhnlein, Harriet V. 1985. Determining        the availability of traditional wild plant foods: an example of Nuxalk        foods, Bella Coola, British Columbia. Ecology of Food and Nutrition. 16:        223-241.  [7002]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

Starry Solomon's-seal is considered to have low to medium revegetation
value [6].
  • 6.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Starry Solomon's-seal fruits and leaves are eaten by grizzly bears
foraging in avalanche chutes and stream bottoms in northern Montana and
southern British Columbia [17].  In northern Idaho, elk consume the
leaves of starry Solomon's-seal in summer, and ruffed grouse eat the
berries in the fall [10,11].
  • 10.  Hungerford, Kenneth E. 1957. Evaluating ruffed grouse foods for habitat        improvement. Transactions, 22nd North American Wildlife Conference.        [Volume unknown]
  • 11.  Irwin, Larry L. 1976. Effects of intensive silviculture on big game        forage sources in northern Idaho. In: Hieb, S., ed. Proceedings,        elk-logging roads symposium. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho: 135-142.        [16146]
  • 17.  Mealey, Stephen P.; Jonkel, Charles J.; Demarchi, Ray. 1977. Habitat        criteria for grizzly bear management. In: Peterie, T., ed. Proceedings,        13th international congress of game biologists; 1977 March 11-15;        Atlanta, GA. No. 13. [Place of publication unknown]

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Uses

Roots have been pounded into a poultice for the treatment of boils and swollen areas of the body. (Weatherbee, 2006) Like onions, the fleshy roots were used to flavour other foods. Medicinlly, the roots were chewed raw or used in syrups and teas to relieve coughs. They were also applied as poultices to burns and swellings. (NPIN, 2009) Native Americans used various preparations of the plant to stimulate the stomach, for leucorrhea, to cleanse the system, for scrofula, for venereal disease, on limbs affected by rheumatism, as a ceremonial emetic, as a cough syrup, for earache, as a wash for eye inflammations, to regulate menstrual disorders, by women as a contraceptive, and as an antiseptic wash in cases of blood poisoning. Bright-colored berries were used for food. Mashed roots used as a fish stupefier. (UM, 2009)

This species adapts to a variety of sites and soils and increases rapidly. It can be used as a ground cover. (NPIN, 2009)

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The currently accepted scientific name of starry Solomon's-seal is
Maianthemum stellatum (L.) Link. There are no recognized infrataxa
[35].

Starry Solomon's-seal is found across the United States and Canada.
Since literature is limited for this widespread species, this report
will reflect information primarily from the Pacific Northwest.
  • 35.  Kartesz, John T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of        the United States, Canada, and Greenland. Volume II--thesaurus. 2nd ed.        Portland, OR: Timber Press. 816 p.  [23878]

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Common Names

starry Solomon's-seal
starry Solomon's seal
false Solomon's-seal
false Solomon's seal
starry false Solomon's-seal
star-flowered Solomon's-seal
starry Solomon plume
starry smilac
spikenard

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Synonyms

Smilacina stellata (L.) Desf. [9]
  • 9.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]

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