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Canada Mayflower - Maianthemum canadense

Canada Mayflower - Maianthemum canadense

Maianthemum canadense, also known as Canada Mayflower or Native Lily of the Valley, is a perennial wildflower native to Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

It grows from 3 to 8 inches tall, slowly forming colonies by rhizome, with most plants presenting a single glossy green leaf.  Each spring in May or June, some of the plants will put up a stalk containing an additional leaf or two topped by a flower cluster of white blossoms.  Green speckled berries follow, turning red in late summer.  


The berries are eaten by ground-feeding birds, including grouse, and small mammals.  Some of the seeds are distributed by birds to form new colonies of this unobtrusive plant.  According to a US Forest Service fact sheet, flowers are pollinated primarily by solitary native bees, bee flies, and hover flies.  The National Wildlife Federation Native Plant Finder reports that Canada Mayflower hosts three species of butterflies and moths in the UP.

Canada Mayflower prefers partial sun to full shade and medium to wet soil, but will grow in loam or dry sand with shade, and in nearly full sun with regular moisture.  Does well under pines of all sorts and moderately acidic soils.  Tolerates mowing and can be incorporated into a shady lawn.  Deer resistant.  Recommended for ground cover under trees or under featured plants in a shade garden, rock gardens that stay moist, and naturilzing lawns under trees or along the north edge of buildings.  When living under taller plants, it prefers those with loose growth, such as Sarsaparilla or Baneberry that won't choke it out.  


If you are looking to create diverse habitat and healthy living soil with an attractive, unobtrusive plant, Candada Mayflower fits the bill.

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