Canada mayflower

(Maianthemum canadense)

Conservation Status
Canada mayflower
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Canada mayflower is a 4 to 10 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a spreading, thread-like rhizome. The rhizome is ¾ to 12 long and 1 32 to 1 16 wide.

Separate sterile and fertile stems are produced.

Sterile stems are short and have a single basal leaf. Fertile stems have usually 2, sometimes 3 leaves. They are erect, zigzagged, unbranched, round in cross section, hairless, 4 to 7 tall, and 1 32 to in diameter.

The basal leaf (on a sterile stem) is held parallel to the ground at maturity in a leaf stalk (petiole) that is up to 2 long. The blade is egg-shaped, 1¾ to 3¼ long, and 1¼ to 2¼ wide. It is deeply heart-shaped with narrow sinuses at the base and tapers to a point at the tip with straight sides along the tip. Sometimes there is a short, tail-like appendage at the tip. There are usually 3, sometimes 5, conspicuous, recessed, parallel veins. The upper surface is medium green and hairless. The lower surface is pale green and hairless or finely hairy. The margins are untoothed and sometimes have a fringe of fine hairs.

Leaves on the fertile stem are alternate. The lowest leaf is stalkless but otherwise similar to the basal leaf on a sterile stem. The uppermost leaf is on a short, 1 32 to ¼ long petiole and is often much narrower.

The inflorescence is a plume-like, unbranched cluster (raceme) of 12 to 24 tiny flowers at the end of the stem. The raceme is cylinder-shaped, erect, and ¾ to 2 long. There are usually 2 flowers, sometimes 1 or 3, at each node of the raceme.

Each flower is star-shaped and about wide. There are 2 petals, 2 similar, petal-like sepals (4 tepals), and 4 stamens. The tepals are conspicuous, white, 1 32to 116 long, and 1 32to wide. The stamens have white filaments and yellow anthers. They are 1 32 to 116 long and protrude well beyond the petals.

The fruit is a globular, to ¼ in diameter berry with 1 or 2 seeds. It is initially green mottled with red, becoming deep translucent red when ripe.




4 to 10


Flower Color




Similar Species


Moist. Deciduous and coniferous forests. Dappled sunlight to dense shade.




May to June


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Asparagales (agaves, orchids, irises, and allies)  


Asparagaceae (agave and allies)  
  Subfamily Nolinoideae (dragon tree)  
  Tribe Polygonateae (true and false Solomon‘s seals)  


Maianthemum (mayflowers and false Solomon‘s seals)  
  Section Maianthemum (mayflowers)  

Subordinate Taxa


Two varieties of Canada mayflower have been described. Plants in the eastern half of its range have a hairless lower leaf surface and a hairless margin. Plants in the west have larger leaves with a finely hairy lower leaf surface and a fringe of fine hairs on the leaf margin. Some taxonomists distinguish the latter as Maianthemum canadense var. interius, and the former as Maianthemum canadense var. canadense. Most taxonomists do not recognize any varieties.




Maianthemum canadense var. interius

Maianthemum canadense var. pubescens

Maianthenum canadense

Unifolium canadense


Common Names


Canada bead-ruby

Canada may-lily

Canada mayflower

false lily-of-the-Valley

two-leaf Solomon’s seal


twoleaved Solomonseal

wild lily-of-the-Valley













On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.



The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



Refers to both the petals and the sepals of a flower when they are similar in appearance and difficult to tell apart. Tepals are common in lilies and tulips.

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    Canada mayflower      
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Sterile Shoots

    Canada mayflower   Canada mayflower  

Fertile Shoots

    Canada mayflower   Canada mayflower  
    Canada mayflower   Canada mayflower  


    Canada mayflower   Canada mayflower  

Fruiting Plant

    Canada mayflower      


    Canada mayflower      



  Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)  
  Maianthemum canadense (Canada Mayflower)
Allen Chartier
  Maianthemum canadense (Canada Mayflower)  



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Other Videos
  Maianthemum canadense

Published on Aug 20, 2012

New England Wild Flower Society Stockbed Grower Dan Jaffe talks about one of his favorite plants - Maianthemum canadense.




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Location: Cass County

Canada mayflower  

Location: Cass County

Canada mayflower  

Location: Fairview Twp, Cass County

Canada mayflower  

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Badoura Jack Pine Woodland SNA

Banning State Park

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Blackhoof River WMA

Blaine Preserve SNA

Boot Lake SNA

Brownsville Bluff SNA

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Butterwort Cliffs SNA

Cannon River Wilderness Area

Carley State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chimney Rock SNA

Clear Lake SNA

Cleary Lake Regional Park

Crow Wing State Park

Crystal Spring SNA

Des Moines River SNA

Dry Sand WMA

Englund Ecotone SNA

Falls Creek SNA

Fort Ridgely State Park

Franconia Bluffs SNA

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Great River Bluffs State Park

Greenwater Lake SNA

Gustafson’s Camp SNA

Hampton Woods WMA

Hardscrabble Woods / MG Tusler Sanctuary

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hayes Lake State Park

Helen Allison Savanna SNA

Hemlock Ravine SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Iona’s Beach SNA

Iron Springs Bog SNA

Itasca State Park

Itasca Wilderness Sanctuary SNA

Jay Cooke State Park

John A. Latsch State Park

Keller Regional Park

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

La Salle Lake SNA

Laible Woods

Lake Alexander Woods SNA, South Unit

Lake Bemidji State Park

Lake Bronson State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Maria State Park

Lawrence Creek SNA

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Lester Lake SNA

Lost 40 SNA

Lutsen SNA

Maplewood State Park

Mary Schmidt Crawford Woods SNA

McCarthy Beach State Park

Miesville Ravine Park Reserve

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Mille Lacs WMA

Monson Lake State Park

Moose Lake State Park

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myhr Creek Ridge SNA

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Old Mill State Park

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Paul Bunyan Savanna

Pigeon River Cliffs

Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

Potato Lake SNA

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Quarry Park SNA

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Ripley Esker SNA

Ritter Farm Park

Rockville County Park

St. Croix Savanna SNA

St. Croix State Park

Sakatah Lake State Park

Savage Fen SNA

Savanna Portage State Park

Schoolcraft State Park

Seven Mile Creek County Park

Sibley State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Springbrook Nature Center

Stanley Eddy Memorial Park Reserve

Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center

Sunfish Lake Park

Tamarack Nature Center

Twin Lakes SNA

Uncas Dunes SNA

Westwood Hills Nature Center

Whitewater State Park

Wild Indigo SNA

Wild River State Park

Wolsfeld Woods SNA

Wood-Rill SNA

Woodland Trails Regional Park







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