Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Plant of the week: False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)

This plant is not all that showy unless you look at the individual flowers close up and see the wonderful bright yellow stamens against the white tepals and sepals which make up the 1/6" long individual flowers.  Like other members of the lily family, the flower parts occur in multiples of three and it has parallel veins in the 4" long by 2" wide mostly smooth leaves that alternate up a zig zag stem. The plant is much showier in late summer and early fall when the tiny white flowers turn into clusters of beautiful red berries.  It flowers in late summer and likes mostly shade but will flower better in partial shade (morning sun) and it is tolerant of a wide range of soil types but does best in rich organic soils. The flowers are slightly fragrant and are pollinated by small bees and beetles. The flowers in the cluster give the appearance of a plume and hence another common name for this plant is Solomon's plume. The entire plant stands about 2.5' tall and it will form a nice cluster that forms from a perennial rhizome. I like this plant because in a colony it has a great textural appeal in the shade garden and gives rise to interesting leaf patterns.  The berries are eaten by some woodland birds and white-footed mice and white-tailed deer will occasionally browse the foliage, but it is generally avoided by this and other herbivores.  Native Americans did use the leaves and brewed them to make a concoction that treated colds and constipation.

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