Plant Data Sheet

Maianthemum dilatatum



Species (common name, Latin name) False lily-of-the-valley, two-leaves Solomons Seal, Maianthemum dilatatum


Range Alaska south along the coast to central California and east to Idaho (Stewart 1994).


Climate, elevation Low to middle elevations (Lowland to Montane Zones) (Pojar and Mackinnon 1994; Stewart 1994)


Local occurrence (where, how common) Very common in some areas throughout its range. Can be the dominant understory (Taylor and Douglas, 1995).


Habitat preferences Moist to wet environments, usually shady woods and riverside areas (Pojar and Mackinnon 1994). Sometimes forms the dominant groundcover in Sitka-spruce forests near the sea (Pojar and Mackinnon, 1994). M. dilatatum grows in light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The species prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional) Tolerant of deep shade (late successional). Can become invasive under good conditions (Huxley 2001).


Associated species In Oregon and Washington, common species associated with Maianthemum dilatatum include sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), swordfern (Polystichum munitum), Oregon oxalis (Oxalis oregana), western springbeauty (Montia sibirica), three-leaved coolwort (Tiarella trifoliata), evergreen violet (Viola sempervirens), stream violet (V. glabella), Smith fairybells (Disporum smithii), red huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium), and rustyleaf menziesia (Menziesia ferruginea) (


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.) Seed or Divisions


Collection restrictions or guidelines Rhizomes can be collected in the fall or the spring and planted soon after.


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?) It can take up to 18 months for seeds of false lily-of-the-valley to germinate.


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life) - Stored seed should be sown in late winter in a cold frame, it might take 18 months to germinate.


Recommended seed storage conditions


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.) Planting from seed and divisions have been successful.

Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?) Plant in shady, moist to wet environments. Soil can range from sandy to clay and from acidic to basic. Soil should be hummus-rich (Royal BC Museum, 2003).


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost) If growing from seed, allow the seedlings to grow on in the pot for their first year, giving liquid feeds as necessary to ensure that they do not go hungry. Divide the plants into individual pots once they have died down in late summer. Grow them on in pots for another year or more until large enough to plant out (Fern, 2003).

This species is easily propagated by rhizomes, which are just below the surface of the soil. The rhizomes should be dug up in fall and divided, and then planted as soon as possible in their new home (Royal BC Museum, 2003). Division can also be done as new growth commences in the spring. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well.


Recommended planting density Seeds are best sown thinly it as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. This plant can easily become an invader.


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.) When seedlings are in pots for their first year, give them liquid feeds as necessary to ensure that they do not go hungry. Overall, this species does not require much care (Royal BC Museum, 2003).


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan Once established, the false lily-of-the-valley can overwhelm the area. Since it reproduces by rhizomes, the plant can live a very long time and continue to vegetatively reproduce (Royal BC Museum, 2003).


Sources cited


Fern, K. Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.


Huxley. A. 1992. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. MacMillan Press.


Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska. B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, British Columbia.


Royal British Columbia Museum. 2003. Native Plants of British Columbia.


Stewart, C. 1994. Wildflowers of the Olympics and Cascades. Nature Education Enterprises. Port Angeles, Washington.


Taylor, R.J. and G.W. Douglas. 1995. Mountain Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Mountain Press Publishing Company. Missoula, Montana.


Data compiled by (student name and date) Daniela Shebitz 5/5/03