Polygonatum (Solomon's Seal)

Polygonatum is a genus of about 70 species of flowering plants in the family Asparagaceae, distributed across the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
These shade-loving plants produce small, tubular flowers during spring and summer, followed by berries which turn dark blue in late summer. The flowers are pendulous and dangle from slender, arching stems. These are the plants that will add structure, motion and interest to woodland gardens or shady borders. In addition, the gorgeous berries will attract wildlife to your garden, such as hummingbirds and other feathered friends.

Name meaning

The genus name is derived from the Greek words “poly”, meaning “many,” and “gonu”, meaning “knees”. It literally means “many knees”, apparently in reference to the knee-like shape of underground rhizomes.

The common name “Solomon’s Seal” was given after the biblical figure King Solomon. The name comes from the flat, round scars on the rhizomes, resembling the impressions of a seal. In some species these scars resemble two overlapped triangles, which is the ancient symbol of the King Solomon. According to the Bible, King Solomon was the King of Israel from 970 B.C. to 931 B.C., and was recognized as a man of peace and wisdom.

Polygonatum symbolism

Solomon’s Seal represents wisdom and peace.

Interesting facts about Polygonatum

Is Solomon’s Seal Poisonous?

Some parts of the plant, such as berries, are poisonous and should not be consumed in large quantities. Overdose leads to nausea, vomiting and gastric complaints.

Benefits and Uses

Solomon’s Seal has been used medicinally by Native American healers and in Chinese medicine for centuries. Since then and still today, this plant is used to treat illnesses and promote well being. In recent years, science has confirmed and even expanded many claims about the healing properties of this plant. It is used for a variety of ailments, such as cough, fever, lung complaints, swellings, hemorrhoids, female complaints, stomach problems and skin conditions such as bruises and boils. The plant is useful for treating injuries and muscle pain, but also for strengthening muscles and the joints around them. It has also been used as an aphrodisiac and to boost sexual potency.

The plant is edible if cooked and is quite delicious. The leaves and rhizomes can be boiled and eaten like vegetables, while the young shoots can be used as an asparagus substitute in some cultures.

Polygonatum Plant Data