Spreading May Flower, Dancing Stork Grass, Maianthemum dilatatum


In a quiet spot in the forest, behind the tofu cabin, false Lily-of-the-valley are in bloom, lifting their flower spikes high above their broad leaves. Maianthemum dilatatum is their name, Mai coming from the Greek word Maios for May, and Anthemum meaning blossom. Dilatatum comes from the Latin differo which means to spread out. In other words, a May flower which spreads out.

During the day, the chickens stroll through these flower beds. What do they think of these beautiful flower beds?

In Japan they are called Maizuru-so, 舞鶴草, which means dancing stork grass, though the word 草 – so or kusa, is more general than just the word grass and includes many small plants. Other names for them are May-lily, snakeberry, and two-leaved Solomon’s seal. They grow from Northern California, along the West Coast to the Aleutian Islands, down through Kamchatka and on to Japan and Korea.

If they are blooming in my little forest, they are in bloom throughout this area and on into British Columbia, which means that today, many thousands of hikers, spending a quiet Sunday on forest trails through the Cascades, are smiling as they walk through forests with floors awash in Maianthemum dilatatum blooms.

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