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The genus Smilacina, now renamed Maianthemum, belongs to the lily of the valley family, either Asparagaceae, Liliaceae or the Ruscaceae family according to classifications. It includes 25 species of rhizomatous perennials, including the beautiful Smilacina racemosa, the most widespread in cultivation. These woodland plants are native to temperate and subtropical Asia as well as Central and North America. Appreciated for their graceful panicles of white flowers, Smilacina owe their name to their resemblance to their distant relative, Sarsaparilla, in Latin Smilax. They are also cousins of Solomon's seal (Polygonatum), and are sometimes called "False Solomon's seal". Smilacina seduces with its beautiful foliage and elegant flowering, in powdery panicles, sometimes followed by attractive fruits. Completely hardy, often deciduous, they spread as groundcover in shade or partial shade, in humus-rich, moist but well-drained, acidic to neutral soils. Once established, they require no maintenance. Propogate by sowing in autumn or by division in autumn and spring.


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