Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Maianthemum racemosum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: RuscaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb to shrub, rhizomed or not. Stem: leafy or scapose. Leaf: 2--15, basal or cauline, cauline clasping or sheathing, petioled [or reduced to scales, with short branches flattened, green, appearing leaf-like]. Inflorescence: terminal or axillary, panicle or raceme. Flower: unisexual or bisexual, generally white (+- pink); perianth parts 4 or 6, fused or not, erect, nodding or pendent; stamens (4)6, +- fused to perianth, anthers attached near base; ovary superior, chambers 2--3, style 1, stigma +- 3-lobed. Fruit: berry, spheric, red, orange-red, or blue-black, or capsule, papery.
Genera In Family: 26 genera, 475 species: northern hemisphere, South Africa, northern Australia; species in several genera cultivated as ornamental, house pls. Note: Smilacina moved to Maianthemum.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MaianthemumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Rhizome creeping. Stem: erect, simple [0]. Leaf: alternate, generally +- clasping, lower reduced to sheathing scales. Inflorescence: terminal, raceme to panicle. Flower: perianth parts 4 or 6 in 2 petal-like whorls, white; stamens 4 or 6; ovary superior, chambers 2--3, style 1, stigmas 2--3. Fruit: berry. Seed: 1--3.
Species In Genus: 3 species: northern temperate. Etymology: (Greek: May flower, from flowering season) Note: Historically divided into 2 genera, Maianthemum, Smilacina (1. vs 1' in key); otherwise +- equal morphologically, unique chromosomally.

Maianthemum racemosum (L.) Link
Habit: Rhizome 5--10 mm diam. Stem: 30--90 cm, glabrous to finely hairy above. Leaf: > 5, 7--20 cm, ovate to oblong-elliptic, acute to acuminate, glabrous to finely hairy abaxially; petioles +- 0. Inflorescence: panicle, 5--12 cm; flowers > 20. Flower: perianth parts 6, 1--2 mm, << stamens, +- erect, narrowly oblong; ovary chambers 3. Fruit: 5--7 mm, red, dotted purple. Seed: 2.5--6 mm, brown. Chromosomes: n=+-18.
Ecology: Moist, open woodland, streambanks; Elevation: < 2000 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN, CW, TR; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, eastern North America. Flowering Time: Mar--Jul
Synonyms: Maianthemum racemosum subsp. amplexicaule (Nutt.) LaFrankie; Smilacina racemosa (L.) Desf.; Smilacina racemosa var. amplexicaulis (Nutt.) S. Watson; Smilacina racemosa var. glabra (J.F. Macbr.) H. St. John
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal
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botanical illustration including Maianthemum racemosum


Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal 2017. Maianthemum racemosum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 19, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 19, 2017.

Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2013 California Academy of Sciences
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2011 California Academy of Sciences
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2016 Aaron Schusteff
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2017 Vernon Smith
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2016 Aaron Schusteff
Maianthemum racemosum subsp. racemosum
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© 2016 Keir Morse

More photos of Maianthemum racemosum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Maianthemum racemosum:
NW, CaR, SN, CW, TR;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.