Little False Solomon Seal

False Solomon Seal, Vancouver Island, BC
False Solomon Seal, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Little False Solomon Seal grows abundantly in all of North America. This native perennial is unbranched and up to 70 cm tall. The central stem is ascending, rather than stiffly erect. It is green to light green, slightly hairy, and sometimes zigzags between the alternate leaves.

The leaves are up to 15 cm long and 7 cm across. They are broadly ovate, smooth along the margins, and usually glabrous on the upper surface. Their venation is parallel, while at the base they are mostly sessile against the stem. The central stem terminates in a rather flat panicle of up to 80 white flowers. This panicle is about 12 cm long and 5 cm across. Its whitish-green stalks are softly hairy.

Each flower is about 0.5 cm across, and they are cream to pale yellow. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 3 weeks. Each flower is replaced by a few seeded berries. Individual berries are about 0.75 cm across and globular; they become bright red, or red and purple striped at maturity.

The root system consists of stout rhizomes with secondary fibrous roots. This plant sometimes forms loose vegetative colonies. The preference is a light shade to partial sun, moist to slightly dry conditions, and a fertile loamy soil with abundant organic material, sandy and rocky soil can also be tolerated. Little False Solomon’s Seal is a common plant that occurs in every part of the BC coastal region.

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