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Maianthemum stellatum

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 stellatum (L.) Link
Habit: Rhizome 3--5 mm diam. Stem: 30--70 cm, straight or +- zigzag above, glabrous to puberulent. Leaf: > 5, 5--17 cm, (ob)lanceolate to elliptic, acuminate, abaxially puberulent; petioles 0. Inflorescence: raceme (or few-branched near base), generally 2--8 cm; flowers 5--15. Flower: perianth parts 6, 4--7 mm, > stamens, spreading, oblong to lanceolate; ovary chambers 3. Fruit: 7--10 mm, red-purple to black. Seed: 2.5--3 mm, brown. Chromosomes: n=18.
Ecology: Moist woodland, streambanks, open slopes; Elevation: < 2400 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, SN, CW, SW, Wrn, SNE; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, eastern North America. Flowering Time: Apr--Jun
Synonyms: Smilacina stellata (L.) Desf.; Smilacina stellata var. sessilifolia (Baker) L.F. Hend.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dale W. McNeal
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botanical illustration including Maianthemum stellatum


Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal 2017. Maianthemum stellatum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on March 28, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on March 28, 2017.

Maianthemum stellatum
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© 2007 California Academy of Sciences
Maianthemum stellatum
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© 2003 Steve Matson
Maianthemum stellatum
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© 2003 Steve Matson
Maianthemum stellatum
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© 2003 Steve Matson
Maianthemum stellatum
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© 2002 Christopher L. Christie

More photos of Maianthemum stellatum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Maianthemum stellatum:
NW, CaR, SN, CW, SW, Wrn, SNE;
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

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