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 2016. Maianthemum racemosum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 29, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 29, 2016.

Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2009 California Academy of Sciences
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2010 Barry Breckling
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2015 Barry Rice
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2015 Barry Rice
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2007 Neal Kramer
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2009 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. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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.