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Common Name: King Solomon's Seal
Polygonatum commutatum is a perennial plant that can grow up to 2.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
The fruit and seed are thought to be poisonous[
Eastern N. America - Rhode Island to Ontario and Manitoba, south to Georgia, New Mexico and Arizona.
Moist woodland and copses, often by streams[
]. Plants are rarely found in dry soils[
Prefers a fertile humus rich moisture retentive well-drained soil in cool shade or semi-shade[
]. Plants are intolerant of heat and drought but tolerate most other conditions[
Grows well in woodlands and copses[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[
The young shoots are very attractive to slugs[
Hybridizes with other members of this genus[
According to one report this species is no more than a synonym for P. biflorum[
Young shoots - cooked. They can be used as an asparagus substitute.
Root - cooked[
]. A parsnip-like flavour[
]. Rich in starch, it can be dried and ground into a powder then used as a thickener in soups etc or can be added to flour when making cakes, bread or whatever[
]. The root should be boiled and sun-dried nine times, it is then delicious[
] (if there is anything left![
A decoction of the root has been used as a herbal steam inhalant as a treatment for headaches[
The root has been burnt in the house for its pleasant fragrance[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in early autumn in a shady part of a cold greenhouse[
]. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. Germination can be slow, they may not come true to type[
] and it takes a few years for them to reach a good size. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in early spring or early autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.