Maianthemum, from Mains, May, and anthemum, flower.

Perennial. Open woods and thickets. Newfoundland to the Northwest Territory, south to North Carolina, west to Iowa and South Dakota. Frequent in northern Ohio. May.

Rootstock

Slender.

Stems

Slender, usually two-leaved, sometimes with but one, rarely with three; three to six inches high, often zigzag.

Leaves

Broad oval, cordate, sessile or short-petioled, parallel-veined, shining; fertile stem has two leaves, the sterile but one.

Flowers

Small, white, in a terminal, many-flowered raceme, slightly fragrant.

Perianth

Of four separate, spreading segments, finally reflexed.

Stamens

Four, inserted at the base of the segments; filaments threadlike; anthers introrse.

Pistil

Ovary two-celled; style two-lobed.

Fruit

Small, globular berry, pale red, speckled.

The Flower-of-May appears in open, sunny woodlands where the soil is thin and composed largely of leaf-mould, and gathers about the trunks of trees or upon the few inches of soil above rocks. It rejoices in companionship and makes great beds of shining leaves, the flowering plants having two, the sterile but one. These leaves have a certain likeness to those of Smilicina and of Solomon's-Seal but are shorter, more rounded, and heart-shaped at base. The two-leaved stem bears a terminal raceme of feathery white flowers, made on the plan of four.

Flower of May. Maianthemum Canadense

Flower-of-May. Maianthemum Canadense

A bed in full bloom makes a fretwork of white upon a carpet of shining green. The blossoms are in full glory in middle and later May. In autumn the same green carpet is dotted with clusters of small, pale-red, speckled berries.