Deep in the shaded understory, small star-shaped flowers gleam. Each spray of white blooms is arranged above symmetrical rows of corn-like leaves. This is star-flowered false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum stellatum).
This pretty little flower is found across much of North America, and goes by a whole boatload of names including false lily of the valley, starry false Solomon’s-seal, star-flowered Solomon’s-seal, starry Solomon plume, starry smilac, and spikenard. The Nuxalk Indians of British Columbia, and many other tribes, collected the ripe berries for food; the root was often used medicinally. The most-cited use was for stomach ailments but it was also used for earache, cough, arthritis, boils, menstrual troubles, venereal disease, and to stupefy fish. It is a very versatile plant.