Solomon's-seal, any plant of the genus Polygonatum, north-temperate perennial herbs of the family Liliaceae (lily family). The hairy Solomon's-seal ( P. pubescens ) and the smooth Solomon's-seal ( P. biflorum ) are well-known wildflowers in most of North America. They characteristically have dark blue berries at each pair of leaf axils. The name has been attributed to leaf scars on the rhizome that resemble seals. Species of Solomon's-seal were formerly used in applications for the skin, and the roots and young shoots have been used for food. They are often grown in wildflower gardens. False Solomon's-seal or wild spikenard ( Smilacina racemosa ), of the same family, is similar but has a cluster of red berries. It is unrelated to the true spikenards. Solomon's-seal is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.