These perennials spread by creeping rhizomes to form dense colonies. Need rich, loose, moist, slightly acid soil. Good for naturalizing in wild garden; commonly seen in moist woods and roadside ditches. The fruit is favored by wildlife. Formerly called Smilacina.
M. racemosum. FALSE SOLOMON'S SEAL, FALSE SPIKENARD. Native to woods throughout much of North America. Grows 13 ft. tall. Each arching stalk has several 3- to 6-in.-long leaves with hairy undersides; foliage is medium green, turning golden yellow in autumn. In spring, stalks are topped by fluffy, conical clusters of small, fragrant, creamy white flowers. Red autumn berries have purple spots. Resembles true Solomon's seal (Polygonatum).
M. stellatum. STARFLOWER, STARRY SOLOMON'S SEAL. Native to Virginia, north to Newfoundland and west to Kansas and California. Grows 12 12 ft. tall. Stems erect or somewhat spreading. Light green, 6-in. leaves are folded lengthwise, or channeled, and clasp the stem. Creamy white spring flowers smaller than those of M. racemosa. Berries are green with black stripes, maturing to deep red or dark blue.