Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Polygonatum commutatum (J.A. & J.H. Schultes) A. Dietr.
- Family: Lily (Liliaceae)
- Flowering: May-June
- Field Marks: The great Solomon's-seal has stout stems and usually more than 2 flowers in a
cluster from the axils of some of the leaves. The flower stalks are flattened.
- Habitat: Rich woods.
- Habit: Perennial herb from stout rhizomes.
- Stems: Upright, unbranched, stout, smooth, up to 6 feet tall.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, broadly elliptic to oval to nearly spherical, rounded or slightly pointed at the tip, rounded at the sessile and sometimes more or less clasping base, without teeth, often wrinkled near the margins, smooth and green on both sides, up to 8 inches long, up to 6 inches wide.
- Flowers: 2-10 drooping from the axils of the leaves, on flattened stalks up to 3 1/2 inches long.
- Sepals: 3, united with the petals to form a tube up to 1 inch long, the lobes up to 1/3 inch long, greenish white.
- Petals: 3, united with the sepals to form a tube up to 1 inch long, the lobes up to 1/3 inch long, greenish white.
- Stamens: 6, not exserted beyond the sepals and petals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; style 1.
- Fruits: Berries spherical, blue, glaucous, up to 1/2 inch in diameter; seeds angular, smooth, up to 1/6 inch in diameter.
- Notes: This species is considered by Gleason and Cronquist to be the same as P. biflorum, only more robust and a more numerous flowering form. Polygonatum canaliculatum is a synonym for this species and appears in older texts.
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