Polygonatum biflorum

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 4 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: Solomon's seal
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States, south-central Canada
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Greenish white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Tolerate: Erosion, Wet Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils. Slowly spreads by rhizomes to form colonies in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Polygonatum biflorum, commonly called small Solomon's seal, is a rhizomatous, upright, arching, Missouri native wildflower which occurs in rich woods throughout the State. Typically grows in a mound to 1-3' tall on unbranched stems. Small, bell-shaped, greenish yellow flowers (usually in pairs) on short pedicels dangle in spring from the leaf axils along and underneath the arching stems. Flowers are followed by blue-black berries in autumn. Conspicuously parallel-veined, alternate leaves (to 4" long) are smooth on both sides and turn an attractive yellow in fall. Starchy, edible rhizomes were formerly used by early Americans as a potato-like food. Common name is usually considered to be in reference to the large, circular seals (leaf stalk scars) located on the rhizomes. However, Edgar Denison suggests that the name actually refers to "wound sealing properties" of the plant.

Genus name comes from Greek words poly meaning many and gonu meaning knee joint in reference to the jointed plant rhizomes. Early herbalists believed that plants with jointed rhizomes were helpful in treating human joint disorders.

Specific epithet means twin-flowered.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Best in woodland gardens, wild gardens, naturalized areas or native plant gardens. May be used in partially shaded borders or rock gardens. Good with astilbe and ferns.