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Willapa Harbor Herald
Lewis County News
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(360) 942-3466 • PO Box 706, Raymond, WA 98577

Hidden-but-showy slower makes local appearances

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Solomon's Seal, or Smilacina racemosa, has made a few rare appearances in local forests during late May.

There were beautiful samples on Winlock/Vader Rd. and a trio of plants along Nevil Rd., just east of Winlock. In reality, the Pacific Northwest version of the plant is False Soleman's Seal due to its resemblance of the true Solomon's seal, Polygonatum.

The plant is of unique stateliness and beauty, but was also coveted by Native Americans for their berry that is high in vitamin C, while the young shoots and green parts of the plant are edible, especially when cooked. It is said that the plant's flavor is somewhat reminiscent of asparagus. Some native tribes Indians harvested the roots of this plant and cooked them in lye water overnight to remove the bitterness and neutralize their strong laxative qualities. The plant was also used by some tribes as a cough suppressant.

Some aggressive gardeners enjoy cultivating the plant in dry, but shaded, locations in acidic soils.

Right: Wild samples of (False) Solomon's Seal, or Smilacina racemosa, adorn a location along Nevil Rd., but can also be found in the forests of our local area.

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