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Vascular Plants of California
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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. Seed: 1--12.
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.
Reference: LaFrankie 2002 FNANM 26:206--210
Unabridged Reference: LaFrankie, J. V. 1986. Transfer of the species of Smilacina Desf. to Maianthemum Wiggers (Liliaceae). Taxon 35:584--589; Rudall P. J. et al. 2000. Systematics of the Ruscaceae/Convallariaceae: A combined morphological and molecular investigation. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 134:73--92
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
Jepson eFlora Author: Dale W. McNeal
Reference: LaFrankie 2002 FNANM 26:206--210
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Maianthemum racemosum

botanical illustration including Maianthemum racemosum


Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal 2012, Maianthemum racemosum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=32495, accessed on August 14, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 14, 2020.

Maianthemum racemosum subsp. racemosum
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Maianthemum racemosum subsp. amplexicaule
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Maianthemum racemosum subsp. amplexicaule
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© 2016 Keir Morse
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2017 Steve Matson
Maianthemum racemosum
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© 2015 Barry Rice
Maianthemum racemosum subsp. racemosum
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse

More photos of Maianthemum racemosum subsp. racemosum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Maianthemum racemosum:
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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.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).