Foraging Wild Fruit: Feathery False Solomon’s-seal

Photo of Feathery False Solomon's-seal

While scouting around for acorns last weekend, I was briefly distracted by clusters of red fruit resting on the leaf litter. Scanning the area, I noticed some of the clusters were off the ground, on the ends of arching stems with alternately arranged, parallel-veined leaves. In New England, this combination of fall field marks can be none other than Feathery False Solomon's-seal (Maianthemum racemosum)*. Recalling that the ripe fruit of this species is edible, I picked a few clusters to bring home.

Photo of Feathery False Solomon's-seal fruit

The flavor of the fruit is odd, suggestive of raspberry syrup, but with a lingering acrid quality. I ate some raw, spitting out the pearl-like seeds, but decided to use the rest to flavor jello. I cooked the fruit in 1 cup of water, strained out the seeds, and added it to a cup of cold water in which I'd dissolved 1 tablespoon of beef gelatin. I then added a touch of honey, stirred well, and put the liquid in the refrigerator overnight to jell. Cooking seemed to lessen the acrid component, leaving a pink tinged treat with a touch of Feathery False Solomon's-seal flavor.

Photo of Feathery False Solomon's-seal handful

*Note: The three other species of the genus Maianthemum growing in New England have fruit in racemes (unbranched stems with stalked fruit) versus panicles (branched stems with stalked fruit -- basically a compound raceme).

2 thoughts on “Foraging Wild Fruit: Feathery False Solomon’s-seal”

  1. Thanks for this post! Whenever I pass by False Solomon’s Seal berries, I have a vague memory of them being edible, but haven’t taken the time to look it up. Thank you for the clarity! 🙂

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