Maianthemum G.H. Weber ex F.G. Wigg.

(incl. Smilacina Desf.)

Maianthemum is, in its current circumscription, a genus with ca. 30-38 species, dispersed from North to Central America, northern Europe and from the Himalayas to eastern Asia (LaFrankie 2002, Mabberley 2008, Meng & al. 2008). Molecular data support the monophyly of Maianthemum s.l. with Maianthemum s.str. nested within Smilacina (Cubey 2005, Meng & al. 2008). Morphologically and geographically, however, both genera are well separated (Chen & al. 2000). All species of Maianthemum s.str., i.e. species with four-tepaled flowers, are very similar and closely related. They are sometimes considered mere varieties of a single species (LaFrankie 2002). A single species is native in Belgium, M. bifolium (L.) F.W. Schmidt (Lambinon & Verloove 2012). This and a few additional species are cultivated as ornamentals in Europe (Leslie 1986, Matthews 1986, Jäger & al. 2008). Two of these have been recorded as a garden escape or throw-out.

1       Tepals 6, 4-5 mm long. Flowering stem with 8-11 leaves. Leaf blade ovate-elliptic to lanceolate (at least twice as long as wide), rounded at base === Maianthemum stellatum

         Tepals 4, shorter. Flowering stem with 2-3 leaves. Leaf blade broadly ovate (hardly longer than wide), deeply cordate at base === 2

2       Leaves up to 20 cm long, glabrous. Stem glabrous, up to 35 (-45) cm tall. Racemes 25-75 mm long, with up to 40 flowers === M. dilatatum

         Leaves up to 8 cm long (often much less), hairy beneath (papillose to puberulent, at least on the veins). Stem usually hairy above, up to 20 cm tall. Racemes 10-40 mm long, with up to 20 flowers (native) === M. bifolium


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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith