Polygonatum odoratum

2 May

Polygonatum odoratum flower (22/04/2011, Kew Gardens-London)

Polygonatum odoratum flower (22/04/2011, Kew Gardens-London)

Position: Full sun to full shade.

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Late spring

Eventual Height: 85cm

Eventual Spread: 30cm

Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b


Polygonatum odoratum is a herbaceous perennial with a creeping habit. It spreads by both rhizomes and seeds. Its arching angular stems bear lance shaped to ovate, hairless leaves usually in pairs. The inflorescence is in the form of pendulous, tubular and extremely fragrant, green tipped white flowers borne on the leaf axils. Small spherical black fruits follow these.

Polygonatum odoratum (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Polygonatum odoratum (05/05/2012, Kew, London)

Polygonatum odoratum, commonly known as Angular Solomon’s Seal or Scented Solomon’s Seal, is native to most of Europe (including the UK) and parts of Asia. The plant contains highly poisonous compounds in small amounts throughout the entire plant but poisoning from this plant is unlikely due to the large amounts required and no reports of it happening exist in England.

The etymological root of the binomial name Polygonatum is derived from the Greek polys meaning ‘many’ and gonu meaning ‘a small joint’. Odoratum is from the Latin meaning ‘fragrant’.

With its tolerance of a wide range of light levels and pH Polygonatum odoratum can be useful to the landscape architect in many locations as an excellent perennial ground cover. This plant will also form an excellent ground cover in a naturalistic woodland scheme.

Polygonatum odoratum will tolerate a wide pH range so long as the soil is free draining.

Polygonatum odoratum (22/04/2011, Kew Gardens-London)

Polygonatum odoratum (22/04/2011, Kew Gardens-London)

Ecologically, Polygonatum odoratum will attract pollinating insects such as bees that will feed on its nectar.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Polygonatum odoratum their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Polygonatum odoratum requires little maintenance. It can be cut to the ground in late autumn although the stems will disconnect themselves from the rhizomes after the first frost. Division of this plant may be carried out in autumn and spring.

Davis Landscape Architecture


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