|CANADA MAY FLOWER...|
|AKA FALSE LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY|
Canada mayflower, AKA false, or wild lily-of-the-valley, Maianthemum canadense, in the Lily Family, is blooming. My recorded dates of bloom are: 6/02/16; 5/28/15; and, 5/29/10. So it is blooming perhaps a week or so late, but pretty much on time.
This diminutive understory perennial is native to sub-boreal forests of Canada and the northern United States, and in the Appalachian Mountains as far south as Georgia. The small, twin-leaved plants often form large mats under mixed deciduous/coniferous forest trees and shrubs. The spikes of its tiny white flowers are followed by red-orange berries that are edible but I have not tried them (never ingest any plant parts unless you are absolutely sure of their edibility). The berries were also used as an analgesic for headaches and sore throats, and as a diuretic, in Native American medicine.
The common name "false lily-of-the-valley" is rather appropriate, since there is a considerable similarity in appearance and growth characteristics between the two species of the Lily Family. The Latin genus name literally means "May flower," and the species name denotes its far northern geographic range. This is a pleasant little plant that everyone should learn to recognize on their jaunts through the northern woodland.