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Vascular Plants of California
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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. 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.
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 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.
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 stellatum

botanical illustration including Maianthemum stellatum

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Citation for this treatment: Dale W. McNeal 2012, Maianthemum stellatum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 18, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 18, 2024.

Maianthemum stellatum
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©2017 Keir Morse
Maianthemum stellatum
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©2017 Keir Morse
Maianthemum stellatum
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©2010 Barry Breckling
Maianthemum stellatum
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©2013 Barry Rice
Maianthemum stellatum
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©2014 California Academy of Sciences

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


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).