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Smooth Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum biflorum


Family: Liliaceae - Lily family Genus Common Name: Solomon's Seal Native Status: Native
Polygonatum biflorum - Smooth Solomon's Seal. Smooth Solomon's seal (P. biflorum) is 1 to 4 feet tall, arching, and is found in rich moist forests thoughout the eastern two-thirds of the United States and Canada. Similar species Hairy Solomon's seal (P. pubescens), has hairy veins on the underside of the leaf.

The name Solomon's Seal references the circular scars on the rhizome left by each year's flower stalk. I have not personally observed this, nor do I know what the seal of King Solomon looked like.

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Polygonatum biflorum

Distribution of Polygonatum biflorum in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 20 Feb 2017). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2008-May-13Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D40
1/125f/5.6 ISO400
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm 4-5.6G ED
145mm (217 equiv) Flash: Yes
Smooth Solomons Seals leaves are in the upper two-thirds or so of the arching stem. The stem and leaves are smooth. Close cousin Hairy Solomon Seal has hairs on the veins on the underside of the leaves.

The flowers of both Hairy and Smooth Solomons Seal are usually a pair of blossoms on pedicels hanging from the leaf axils, but may be a single blossom or several. This specimen has at least two clusters of three blossoms. They are initially green, maturing to white.
Polygonatum biflorum

Site: The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2009-April-25Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D60
1/100f/11 ISO200
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
90mm (135 equiv)
This specimen of Polygonatum biflorum has narrower leaves than most, but still shows the characteristic parallel veins, and the rows of blossoms on petioles hanging from the leaf axils.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Polygonatum biflorum

Site: The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2008-May-13Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D40
1/125f/5.6 ISO200
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm 4-5.6G ED
185mm (277 equiv) Flash: Yes
Stamens of Solomon's Seal are not something you normally see, since do not extend much beyond the corolla, and the blossoms dangle underneath the leafy plant.

No plants were harmed during this photography session.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Polygonatum biflorum

Site: The Pocket at Pigeon Mountain, Walker County, GA Date: 2008-April-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D40
1/125f/5.6 ISO220
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G II ED
55mm (82 equiv) Flash: Yes
The differences between False Solomon's Seal and true Solomon's Seal can be seen in this photograph.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Polygonatum biflorum

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer