Polygonatum biflorum var. commutatum - giant Solomon's seal

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pretty good edible tubers

I had read that the tubers (actually rhizomes) were edible but we never got around to it somehow. At first we wanted to let it multiply, then we just forgot. Somebody told me this winter that they were very good. We don't even eat the shoots that much.

So today we were doing some transplanting and saw how large they had gotten. We cooked one up, it needed to boil for almost 30 minutes. It was not too good on its own but with a little butter and salt was quite palatable. This could be a quite interesting crop as it will form tubers in partial shade, though they take a few years to size up. The growing tip was tender and tasty - Jonathan sais ti reminded him of globe artichokes. The texture is fairly firm, and filling.

I should note that one person (of three) who tried them had a bit of an upset stomach later, may or may not be related. Various books do list it as edible.

Eric Toensmeier - writer, trainer, plant geek - www.perennialsolutions.org

I have found the growing tips

I have found the growing tips in springtime to be quite a bit more bitter than asparagus, even with several changes of water. Perhaps my palate is more cosmopolitain than that of veteran forest gardeners, but perhaps something to warn the general public about.


We discard the tips and just eat them stem of the shoot, which we find is quite good eating.

Eric Toensmeier - writer, trainer, plant geek - www.perennialsolutions.org

native wild edible

Giant Solomon's seal is a beautiful native wildflower for sun or shade. It tends to form loose colonies and seems like it would not outcompete shorter species below it.

The shoots are used like asparagus, and I quite like them though the tuft of leaves at the top is bitter.

I don't know how many you would need to have a sustained harvest, ours are still multiplying. But certainly great for naturalizing in low-maintenance areas for the occasional harvest. Tell us how you grow and use this species!

Eric Toensmeier - writer, trainer, plant geek - www.perennialsolutions.org

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