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Maianthemum canadense

Phonetic Spelling
may-an-the-mum ka-na-DEN-see
Description

This wildflower, in its native habitat, grows in colonies in deciduous (broad leafed trees that drop leaves in the fall) or mixed woods, bog edges, and in some wetland areas. It is a short, 3 to 5 inches, plant that spreads by its rhizomes or creeping roots. It is a perennial with small white flowers during May and June  with the fragrant flowers becoming red berries in the fall that are attractive to birds and small mammals such as chipmunks. The short stem is distinctive in that it is not always straight but may have angular bends. This plant likes cool temperatures and moist soils.

The Canada Mayflower, a common name, as is False lily-of-the-valley, needs shade or part shade and moist rich soil to grow well. A damp, mossy wooded area would also work well. It grows well in a range of pH acidic to near neutral soils. It is found naturally in moist forests, especially those at high elevations. Note that the common name False lily-of-the-valley is because it looks so much like the non-native Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), which is a different plant entirely. This plant is tolerant of heat.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennials#NC native#red fruits#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#pollinator garden#bee friendly#Audubon#heavy shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennials#NC native#red fruits#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly#mammals#food source soft mast fruit#pollinator garden#bee friendly#Audubon#heavy shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Maianthemum
    Species:
    canadense
    Family:
    Liliaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Subarctic America to N. Central & E. Central U.S.A
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Spotted berry turning dark red during the fall. Small size. Fruits are available August-September
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The small star shaped flowers cluster at the end of the short stem. The Lily family plants often have more petals, this one has only 2 sepals (the green leaflike tight outer covering of a petal), 2 petals, and has 4 stamens, as opposed to the usual 6. The stamens are the pollen producing part of the flower. Flowers bloom May-July
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat