LILY FAMILY - Liliaceae: Hairy, or True, or Twin-flowered Solomon's Seal

Polygonatum biflorum

Flowers--Whitish or yellowish green, tubular, bell-shaped, 1 to 4, but usually 2, drooping on slender peduncles from leaf axils. Perianth 6-lobed at entrance, but not spreading; 6 stamens, the filaments roughened; 1 pistil. Stem: Simple, slender, arching, leafy, 8 in. to 3 ft. long. Leaves: Oval, pointed, or lance-shaped, alternate, 2 to 4 in. long, seated on stem, pale beneath and softly hairy along veins. Rootstock: Thick, horizontal, jointed, scarred. (Polygonatum = many joints.) Fruit: A blue-black berry.

Preferred Habitat--Woods, thickets, shady banks.

Flowering Season--April-June.

Distribution--New Brunswick to Florida, westward to Michigan.

From a many-jointed, thick rootstock a single graceful curved stem arises each spring, withers after fruiting, and leaves a round scar, whose outlines suggested to the fanciful man who named the genus the seal of Israel's wise king. Thus one may know the age of a root by its seals, as one tells that of a tree by the rings in its trunk.