Smilacina racemosa

false Solomon's seal

Outstanding Qualities

A native of the Pacific Northwest, this clump-forming perennial looks great in the garden. Smilacina racemosa has a graceful architectural appearance: Its strong, slightly arching stems have deep green alternating leaves with strong parallel veins running up to the tip. Plume-like clusters of small, white flowers-make sure to enjoy their unexpected rose fragrance-crown this perennial in mid-spring. By late summer appear showy, round red berries that are sometimes spotted with purple. False Solomon's seal is drought tolerant and grows well in dry, shady locations. It is a natural for the woodland garden and great in combination with rhododendrons, sword fern, Cascade Oregon grape (Mahonia nervosa), hostas and lily-of-the-valley shrubs (Pieris).

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: black, blue, silver

Great Color Partners: dark green, chartreuse

Culture Notes

False Solomon’s seal is very adaptable and grows well in light to deep shade and in moist to well-drained soils including sandy and clay sites. Once established it is drought tolerant, although occasional watering will keep it looking fresh. Remove seed heads before they mature to reduce the number of seedlings. Cut to the ground in the fall once the foliage begins to yellow.

© Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Quick Facts

Plant Type: perennial

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 3 ft. 0 in. (0.91 m.)

Plant Width/Spread: 2 ft. 0 in. (0.61 m.)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 to 9

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: light to deep shade

Water Requirements: drought tolerant once established, but appreciates occasional water during very long dry spells