Whorled Solomon Seal

Whorled Solomon's Seal

"Set me as a seal upon thine heart."

-Song of Solomon


Polygonatum verticillatum is a somewhat bamboo-ish Solomon's Seal with slender dagger-leaves on two to four foot stems, arranged four to eight leaves to a whorl. In 2005 we planted a small start which sprang up to two feet height, some of the stems upright, some tipped or fountaining.

It likes cool shade Small scentless cream-colored dangling bellflowers have scalloped green emerald rims. These occur in pairs or trios along the stems at the base of the leaves (at leaf axils). The vendor claims the May/June flowers are pinkish on this strain, but we'll have to wait until next year to see for ourselves.

The pink flowering strain seems to be from the Himalayas or China & is probably P. verticillatum rubrum with red-flushed flowers & red-pink inedible berries. The more widely distributed white-flowered Whorled Solomon's Seal is native of the Alps & Pyrennees, with populations in Scotland, in Europe from Norway to the Medterranean region, & regions further east. Even the white flowering ones have coral berries, which cling to the central stem even after the leaves have fallen in autumn.

This species has an extensive range through the northern Hemisiphere from Europe to the Himalayas to Siberia, with sundry variant forms such as a broader leafed form, a dwarf form, larger forms (to six feet), as well as the white versus pink flowering forms.

Hardy for zones 5 through 9, they are used promarily for the architectural qualities of their tiered fountaining foliage, & as part-sun understory plants that mix well with ferns or hostas, tolerant of dryish shade under mature trees or large shrubs.

Used medicinally, this solomon seal roots have several chemical components that have been used for synthesizing steroidal hormones. It is not recommended as a home herbal remedy, despite that it is so used in India. Starchy roots well-cooked can be eaten as a substitute for asparagus.

see also,
Polygonatum falcatum 'Variegatum'
& see,
Polygonatum humile


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