Maianthemum racemosum

Jane McGary
Sun, 10 Jun 2018 11:31:18 PDT
Kathleen mentioned Maianthemum racemosum about to flower. Those who 
haven't kept up with the busy botanists may not recognize this as what 
was known for a long time as Smilacina racemosa. The western American 
subspecies (amplexicaulis) is rather different from the eastern American 
one (the type of the species), and I think this is why it isn't as well 
known as a garden subject. The western forms are larger and the 
inflorescence both larger and more condensed; an eastern gardener to 
whom I sent a sample some years ago was pleasantly surprised at the 
difference. The flowers give off a strong fragrance of 
lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis, muguet des bois) and continue 
to do so when cut. I think it's the very best garden plant native to our 
Pacific Northwest area. After flowering it produces bright red fruits, 
and the foliage is attractive long into the summer. I found an 
especially robust form growing in a neighbor's Christmas-tree field and 
kept it for the garden. Low-elevation forms are larger than those seen 
higher in the mountains. There is another ex-Smilacina here, Maianthemum 
stellatum, a small, pretty plant but perhaps too much of a spreader for 
some gardeners; I grow it in a shrubbery. M. racemosum also increases by 
rhizomes but they remain in a compact clump.

Incidentally, the Prosartes Kathleen also mentioned (2 species native 
around here) was long known as Disporum.

Jane McGary, Portland, Oregon, USA

On 6/10/2018 7:45 AM, Kathleen Sayce wrote:
> ... A wild-collected, seed grown Maianthemum racemosum is about to flower for the first time.

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