#358 Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

26 February 2021

Q dominant understory perennial flowering plant, native to the sub-boreal conifer forests in Canada and the northern United States, from Yukon and British Columbia east to Newfoundland and south to Nebraska and Pennsylvania, and also in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia. It can be found growing under both evergreen and deciduous trees.

It grows to 10–25 cm (4–10 in) tall, and has 1–3 leaves, with clusters of 12–25 starry shaped, white flowers held above the leaves. The flowers are produced from late spring to mid summer, and have four tepals and four stamens, as in the very closely related Maianthemum bifolium and Maianthemum dilatatum. The fruit is a berry containing 1–2 round seeds that becomes red and translucent when ripe. The berries are mottled red in early summer and turn deep red in mid summer. Seed is produced infrequently and most plants in a location are vegetative clones, the plants spreading by their rhizomes, which are shallow, trailing, and white.

Leaves are alternate, stalkless, oval, and slightly notched at base. They are not oppressed to the stem. The plant appears in two forms, either two or three leaves growing with a fruiting stem, or a single leaf rising from the ground with no fruiting structures.

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