Maianthemum trifolium (L.) Sloboda

three-leaved false Solomon's-seal

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Three-leaved false Solomon's-seal is native to northern North America and Asia. It is commonly found in fens and bogs throughout New England.

Habitat

Bogs, fens

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade shape
the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
Leaf blade length
50–120 mm
Flower petal color
white
Flower petal length
0.5–5 mm
Petal fusion
the perianth parts are fused to form a tube, cup, or bell shape
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
Ovary position
the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
Fruit type (specific)
the fruit is a berry (fleshy, with the wall enclosing one or more sections, with two or more seeds)
Fruit length
4–12 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Axillary bulblets
    there are no bulblets being produced in axils
  • Flowers
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused (the number of carpels equals the number of locules)
    Flower petal color
    white
    Flower petal length
    0.5–5 mm
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    2–3
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are fused to form a tube, cup, or bell shape
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal length
    0.5–5 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spathe
    the plant does not have a spathe
    Spathe form
    NA
    Stamen number
    6
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamens fused outwards
    the stamens are not fused to the petals or tepals
    Style petal-like
    the style is not broad and flattened like a petal
    Tepals
    the petals and sepals are similar in size and color
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    red
    Capsule ridges
    NA
    Fruit compartments
    there are three locules in the fruit
    Fruit length
    4–12 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is fleshy
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a berry (fleshy, with the wall enclosing one or more sections, with two or more seeds)
    Other markings on berry
    • the ripe fruits are mostly one color without spots or streaks
    • the ripe fruits have spots or streaks on them
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade basal lobes
    the leaf blades do not have basal lobes
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section
    Leaf blade faces
    both surfaces of the leaf blade are exposed
    Leaf blade form
    Fully-formed (i.e., expanded), +/- green leaf blades are found somewhere on the plant
    Leaf blade length
    50–120 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins are parallel or slightly arched in the direction of the tip
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Stipule twining
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on this plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • bogs
    • fens
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the leaves have no particular smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem leaves
    there is at least one fully-formed leaf on the flowering stem

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)
Maine
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Massachusetts
uncommon (uncertain) (S-rank: S3?), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)
Rhode Island
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), state endangered (code: SE)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Maianthemum canadense:
flowers with 4 tepals and leaf blades cordate at the base (vs. M. trifolium, with flowers with 6 tepals and leaf blades narrowed to the base).

Synonyms

  • Convallaria trifolia L.
  • Smilacina trifolia (L.) Desf.
  • Vagnera trifolia (L.) Morong

Family

Ruscaceae

Genus

Maianthemum

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

4.  Maianthemum trifolium (L.) Sloboda N

three-leaved false Solomon’s-seal. Convallaria trifolia L.; Smilacina trifolia (L.) Desf.; 
 Vagnera trifolia (L.) Morong • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fens, bogs, laggs, often with at least 
a partial overstory.