Canadian Mayflower | False Lily of the Valley

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Maianthemum Canadense. Lily Family.

Stem. - Three to six inches high, with two or three leaves. Leaves. - Lance-shaped to oval, heart-shaped at base. Flowers. - White or straw color, growing in a raceme. Perianth. - Four-parted. Stamens. - Four. Pistil. - One, with a two-lobed stigma. Fruit. - A red berry.

It seems unfair that this familiar and pretty little plant should be without any homely English name. Its botanical title signifies "Canada Mayflower," but while it undoubtedly grows in Canada and flowers in May, the name is not a happy one, for it abounds as far south as North Carolina, and is not the first blossom to be entitled "Mayflower."

In late summer the red berries are often found in close proximity to the fruit of the shin leaf and pipsissewa. The berries are mottled red in early summer and turn deep red in mid summer.

The Canadian Mayflower appears in two forms, either two or three leaves growing with a fruiting stem, or a single leaf rising from the ground with no fruiting structures. It can be found growing under both evergreen and deciduous trees.