Plant A Day – Feathery False Lily of the Valley

Feathery False Lily of the Valley Maianthemum racemosum

Feathery False Lily of the Valley
Maianthemum racemosum

So why are some plants named “False” something or other?  What makes one plant “False” and the other plant “True”?  How do the “False” plants feel about this?

There’s False Rue Anemone, Climbing False Buckwheat, False Dandelion and about fifty others.  Feathery False Lily of the Valley has a double whammy because its other common name is False Solomon’s Seal.

I suspect that it’s a case of lazy botanists who couldn’t think of a new name for the plant and picked the closest looking plant and plopped a “False” in front of the name.  In the case of Maianthemum racemosum they came up with two similar looking plants to refer to.

The flowerheads are on the end of the stem

The flowerheads are on the end of the stem

The leaves have a smooth surface and a very short or no stem

The leaves have a smooth surface and a very short or no stem

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