Edible Mayflower
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Edible Mayflower
P Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Edible Mayflower
Botanical name: Maianthemum oleraceum    Family: Asparagaceae (Asparagus family)
Synonyms: Smilacina oleracea, Smilacina crassifolia

Edible Mayflower is a plant 45-80 cm tall. Rhizomes are tuberous, 1-2 cm thick. Stem is zigzagged, distally velvet-hairy or becoming hairless. Leaves are 4-9; leaf-stalk 3-7 mm; leaf blade oblong-ovate, oblong-lanceshaped, or broadly lanceshaped, 12-21 x 2-6 cm, below laxly velvet-hairy. Inflorescence is a panicle, 5-10 cm; axis velvet-hairy. Flowers are solitary; flower-stalk 5-10 mm. Flowers are white or deep purplish red; tepals nearly free, obovate-oblong, 4--6 × 2--3.5 mm, usually minutely finely toothed on distal margin. Filaments are subulate, about 1.3 mm; anthers about 1 mm. Style 2--2.5 mm; stigma 3-lobed. Berries red at maturity, 6-7 mm in diameter, 1--3-seeded. Young shoots and leaves are stir-fried or added to soups. Edible Mayflower is found in the Himalayas, in Bhutan, N India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim, at altitudes of 2100-3300 m. Flowering: May-July.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary & Lachen, Sikkim.

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