Convallaria pubescens Willd.
Polygonatum boreale Greene
Polygonatum cuneatum Greene
Polygonatum farwellii Bush
Polygonatum multiflorum pubescens (Willd.) Alph.Wood
Common Name: Hairy Solomon's Seal
Polygonatum pubescens is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a rhizomatous rootstock with rhizomes 10 - 18mm thick; it produces a cluster of erect, leafy stems around 50 - 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
The berries contain an anthraquinone that causes vomiting and diarrhoea[
Eastern to Central N. America - Ontario to Quebec and Nova Scotia, south to Alabama and Georgia
Rich shady woods[
]. Rich moist wooded slopes and coves; at elevations from sea level to 1,100 metres[
Polygonatum pubescens is a very cold-hardy plant, being able to tolerate temperatures down to around -30°c when fully dormant[
Prefers a fertile humus rich moisture-retentive well-drained soil in cool shade or semi-shade[
]. Plants are intolerant of heat and drought but they tolerate most other conditions[
Especially in areas where winters are cold, the shallow rhizomes of this species will benefit from the protection given by a deep mulch of leafmould[
This species is closely related to Polygonatum odoratum[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[
The young shoots of most members of this genus are very attractive to slugs[
Hybridizes with other members of this genus[
Young shoots - cooked[
]. They can be used as an asparagus substitute.
Rhizome - cooked[
]. The rhizome is up to 18mm thick[
]. It is rich in starch. The rhizomes reportedly have been dried and ground into a flour or boiled and eaten like potatoes[
A decoction of the plant has been used in the treatment of spitting up of blood[
An infusion of the roots has been used as an eye wash in the treatment of snow blindness[
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.