Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum biflorum (Lily family - Liliaceae)


Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum biflorum (Lily family - Liliaceae) Paired greenish-yellow flowers dangle beneath the leaves arranged alternately on the stem. Berries are blue-black. 1 - 3 ft. Wood and thickets. There are several species of Solomon's Seal. All are characterized by an arched stem with small tubular flowers dangling along the axis. The stem grows from a creeping underground stem (rhizome), which is jointed and scarred. The shape of the rhizome explains the plant's generic name, which combines the Greek polys, "many" and gonu, "knee," an allusion to the many joints of the rhizome.



The common name is explained by the scars on the rhizome left by earlier flower stalks. These were thought to resemble King Solomon's official seal. The juice from crushed rhizomes was used to treat earache and sunburn. The starchy rhizomes were eaten by Native Americans and the early settlers . Even today some outdoor adventurers eat the tender new shoots, which are said to taste like asparagus.

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