Stem. - Slender, curving, one to three feet long. Leaves. - Alternate, oval, set close to the stem. Flowers. - Greenish-white or straw-colored, bell-shaped, nodding from the axils of the leaves. Perianth. - Six-lobed at the summit. Stamens. - Six. Pistil. - One. Fruit. A dark blue berry.
The graceful leafy stems of the Solomon's seal are among the most decorative features of our spring woods. The small blossoms which appear in May grow either singly or in clusters on a flower-stalk which is so fastened into the axil of each leaf that they droop beneath, forming a curve of singular grace which is sustained in later summer by the dark blue berries.
Plate X. Rootstock. Solomon's Seal - P. biflorum
The larger species, P. giganteum, grows to a height of from two to seven feet, blossoming in the meadows and along the streams in June.
The common name was suggested by the rootstocks, which are marked with large round scars left by the death and separation of the base of the stout stalks of the previous years. These scars somewhat resemble the impression of a seal upon wax.
The generic name is from two Greek words signifying many, and knee, alluding to the numerous joints of the rootstock.