The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Solomon’s Seal – True or False

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1983-2012

Issue: June, 1983

soloman sealIllustration by Susan M. ThigpenThere are two varieties of wildflowers with the name Solomon’s Seal, one True Solomon’s Seal and one False Solomon’s Seal. Both of these plants grow in abundance in the Blue Ridge, often side by side in forests and along roadsides.

Both plants are alike in that they have one central stem approximately two to three feet long, arching gracefully. They also have leaves alternately arranged on the stem. The leaves look very similar also.

The two plants are very easy to tell apart because of the location of the blooms. The False Solomon’s Seal has a cluster of feathery, little white blooms at the end of the stem. The True Solomon’s Seal has little cup shaped white blooms (usually in pairs) hanging under the stem. These blooms are practically hidden by the leaves.

In the fall, there is a cluster of purple specked, reddish berries on the False Solomon’s Seal, weighting it down until the plant drops to the ground. The seed pods of the True Solomon’s Seal are little round green pods about the size of a pea hanging where the blooms are in summer.