Slowly spreading rhizomes send up arching stems clothed in broadly oval leaves arranged in nearly horizontal planes. Where leaves join stems, pairs or clusters of small, bell-shaped greenish white flowers appear in spring, hanging beneath the stems on threadlike stalks. Small blue-black berries may follow flowers. Leaves and stems turn bright yellow in fall before plant dies to the ground. Attractive for form and flowers in woodland garden; good with astilbe, ferns, hellebore, hosta, wild ginger (Asarum). Grow in loose, woodsy soil. Can remain in place for years; to increase your plantings, dig rhizomes from clump edges in early spring, and replant. Good in containers. For false Solomon's Seal, see Smilacina.
P. biflorum. SOLOMON'S SEAL. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native to eastern North America. To 13 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide, with bright green leaves to 4 in. long and flowers usually in pairs or threes. A form sometimes sold as P. commutatum or P. canaliculatum is much more vigorous, growing 37 ft. tall, 34 ft. wide. It has leaves to 7 in. long and flowers in groups of two to ten.
P. falcatum 'Wedding Bells'. US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. From Korea. Arching stems to 2 ft. tall clothed in dangling white flowers tipped with green.
P. humile. DWARF SOLOMON'S SEAL. Native to eastern Europe, western Asia. Dwarf species to just 46 in. tall, spreading to 20 in. wide. Erect, upright stems carry dark green, 1- to 3-in.-long leaves. In spring, diminutive white flowers are produced singly or in pairs along the length of the stems. 'Tom Thumb' grows only 6 in. high.
P. odoratum. FRAGRANT SOLOMON'S SEAL. Native to Europe, Asia. To 13 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide, with bright green, 4- to 6in. leaves. Flowers are fragrant, usually borne in pairs but sometimes borne singly. Drought tolerant; does well in dry shade. The leaves of 'Byakko' are marked with white near the red stems. 'Double Stuff' has red stems and wide white margins on the leaves. 'Fireworks' has leaves splashed and striped with white. P. o. pluriflorum 'Variegatum' has white-edged leaves; its stems are dark red until fully mature.