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Angular Solomon's Seal

Polygonatum odoratum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asparagaceae (Asparagus)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
90 centimetres tall
Gardens, mountains, riversides, rocky places, waterside, woodland.

White, 6 petals
Angular Solomon's Seal, scientifically known as Polygonatum odoratum, produces delicate and elegant flowers. Each stem typically bears pendulous, bell-shaped blooms that hang from the leaf axils in pairs or sometimes solitary. The flowers are typically creamy-white to pale greenish in color, sometimes with a hint of yellow. They have six tepals (petal-like structures), which are fused at the base, forming a cylindrical shape that flares out into a bell-like opening. The flowers are subtly fragrant and attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. After flowering, green berries develop, which eventually turn purplish-black as they ripen in late summer to autumn.
The fruit of Angular Solomon's Seal develops after the flowering period. These fruits are small, spherical berries that start off green and gradually ripen to a deep purplish-black color. Each berry contains several seeds within. The berries are typically shiny and somewhat translucent when ripe, adding ornamental value to the plant in late summer and early autumn. They are attractive to birds and other wildlife, which aid in seed dispersal.
The leaves are light green, oval, pointed and have prominent parallel veins. The Angular Solomon's Seal is a smaller plant than the Common Solomon's Seal, and is by far much less common. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems. The stems are distinctly angled, hence the name of this flower. This plant grows among the cracks of Limestone Pavements and in woods with limestone.
Angular Solomon's Seal has a subtle and pleasant fragrance associated with its flowers. The fragrance is often described as sweet and delicate, adding to the allure of the plant when in bloom. It attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which are drawn to its scent. Overall, the fragrance of Polygonatum odoratum contributes to its appeal in gardens and natural settings where it grows.
Other Names:
Angled Solomon's Seal, Fragrant Solomon's Seal, Scented Solomon's Seal.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Polygonatum odoratum, also known as Fragrant Solomon's seal, is a perennial herb in the family Asparagaceae. It is native to Asia, Europe and North America, and can be found in woodlands, along streams and in shaded areas. The plant grows to a height of 60-90 cm with arching stems that bear alternate, lance-shaped leaves. The flowers are small, greenish-white and hang in drooping clusters along the stem, followed by blue-black berries. The rootstock of the plant is sometimes used for medicinal purposes. The plant is also cultivated as an ornamental for its attractive foliage and fragrant flowers. The rhizomes of the plant are also used in traditional Chinese medicine. The plant is also known for its ornamental value as it forms a dense ground cover, and it's flowers are small, but fragrant and long lasting, making it a popular choice for borders, gardens, and naturalistic landscapes.


Angular Solomon's Seal, or Polygonatum odoratum, is a beautiful and delicate perennial plant that belongs to the family Asparagaceae. It is commonly found in Europe, Asia, and North America, where it grows in shaded woodland areas, moist meadows, and along stream banks. The plant has a long history of medicinal and culinary use and is highly prized for its unique appearance and distinct fragrance.

One of the most striking features of Angular Solomon's Seal is its angular stems, which grow to a height of up to 90cm and are covered with small, greenish-white, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in early summer. The plant's leaves are elongated and arranged in a distinct, alternate pattern, with each leaf having a broad base that tapers to a pointed tip. The leaves are dark green in color and have a smooth, glossy texture.

The plant's common name, Solomon's Seal, is derived from the shape of its root system, which features a series of interconnected, oval-shaped rhizomes that resemble the ancient seal of King Solomon. These rhizomes are highly valued for their medicinal properties and have been used for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments, including digestive disorders, respiratory conditions, and joint pain.

Angular Solomon's Seal is also highly prized in culinary circles, where its tender shoots and young leaves are used in a variety of dishes, including soups, salads, and stir-fries. The plant's distinctive fragrance is also highly prized, and it is often used to create fragrant sachets and potpourri.

If you are interested in growing Angular Solomon's Seal in your garden, it is important to choose a shaded area with well-drained soil. The plant prefers moist, humus-rich soil and should be watered regularly, especially during hot, dry periods. It is also important to provide the plant with plenty of space to spread, as its root system can grow quite large over time.

Angular Solomon's Seal is a beautiful and versatile plant that has been valued for its medicinal and culinary properties for centuries. Whether you are interested in growing the plant for its beauty, its fragrance, or its medicinal properties, it is a plant that is sure to delight and inspire.

In addition to its use in medicine and cuisine, Angular Solomon's Seal has also been used in traditional folk remedies for a variety of ailments. The plant is said to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and has been used to treat conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, and tendonitis. It is also believed to have diuretic properties and has been used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Polygonatum odoratum is known as "yu zhu" and is believed to have a cooling effect on the body. It is often used to treat dry cough, dry mouth, and other symptoms of dehydration. The root is also believed to have a nourishing effect on the lungs, and is often used to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

Aside from its medicinal properties, Polygonatum odoratum is also a popular ornamental plant, especially in shaded gardens. Its delicate flowers and unique shape make it a popular choice for border plantings, woodland gardens, and as a groundcover. It can also be used in cut flower arrangements and has a long vase life.

In terms of cultivation, Polygonatum odoratum is generally a hardy and low-maintenance plant. It prefers shaded or partially shaded locations, and is tolerant of a wide range of soil types. It is generally resistant to pests and diseases, although it can be susceptible to fungal infections in wet conditions. It is also relatively drought-tolerant once established, although it will benefit from regular watering during dry spells.

Polygonatum odoratum, or Angular Solomon's Seal, is a versatile and valuable plant that has been prized for centuries for its medicinal, culinary, and ornamental properties. Whether you are interested in using it for its health benefits, its unique appearance, or its delicious flavor, it is a plant that is sure to bring beauty and joy to any garden or kitchen.

In some cultures, Polygonatum odoratum has been associated with folklore and legends. For example, in Japanese mythology, the plant is said to have the power to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. It is also believed to have a soothing effect on the mind and spirit, and is often used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

In European folklore, Polygonatum odoratum has been associated with fairies and woodland spirits. It is said that fairies are drawn to the plant's delicate flowers and sweet fragrance, and that it can be used to attract them to the garden. The plant is also associated with love and fertility, and is said to have been used in love potions and other magical spells.

Another interesting aspect of Polygonatum odoratum is its adaptability. The plant has been known to thrive in a variety of growing conditions, including both dry and wet soil, as well as in full sun or partial shade. This adaptability has made it a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers, as it can be used to fill a variety of niches in the garden.

In terms of conservation, Polygonatum odoratum is considered a vulnerable species in some regions, due to habitat loss and over-harvesting of its rhizomes for medicinal use. In response, a number of conservation efforts have been put in place to protect the plant and its habitat, including efforts to encourage sustainable harvesting practices and the establishment of protected areas.

In conclusion, Polygonatum odoratum, or Angular Solomon's Seal, is a fascinating and versatile plant that has played an important role in medicine, folklore, and horticulture. Its unique appearance, sweet fragrance, and adaptability have made it a popular choice for gardeners, while its medicinal properties and cultural significance have earned it a place in traditional medicine and folklore.

30 Notable Facts About Angular Solomon's Seal

Here are 30 noteworthy facts about Polygonatum odoratum (Angular Solomon's Seal):

  1. Polygonatum odoratum is also known as Angular Solomon's Seal or Scented Solomon's Seal.
  2. It belongs to the Asparagaceae family and is native to Europe and Asia.
  3. The plant grows from rhizomes and forms clumps of arching stems.
  4. Stems can reach heights of 30-60 cm (12-24 inches) tall.
  5. The leaves are alternate, elliptic to lanceolate, and typically arranged in pairs along the stems.
  6. Flowers are pendulous and bell-shaped, usually white to creamy-yellow in color.
  7. Each flower has six tepals fused into a cylindrical shape with a flared opening.
  8. Flowers are subtly fragrant, attracting bees and butterflies for pollination.
  9. Blooms typically appear in late spring to early summer.
  10. After flowering, green berries develop that turn purplish-black when ripe.
  11. The berries are spherical and contain several seeds.
  12. Polygonatum odoratum prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.
  13. It is commonly found in woodland areas, forest edges, and shaded slopes.
  14. The plant has been used in traditional herbal medicine for various purposes.
  15. In some cultures, the rhizomes are used as a food source after proper preparation.
  16. The rhizomes contain saponins, which can cause gastric irritation if consumed raw.
  17. The species name "odoratum" refers to the plant's sweet fragrance.
  18. Polygonatum odoratum has been cultivated for ornamental purposes in gardens.
  19. It is a perennial herbaceous plant that dies back to the ground in winter.
  20. The plant's arching stems make it suitable for use as a ground cover.
  21. In folk medicine, extracts from the rhizomes are used in treatments for coughs and respiratory ailments.
  22. It has been historically associated with symbolism related to protection and luck.
  23. The genus name "Polygonatum" comes from the Greek words "poly" (many) and "gonu" (knee), referring to the jointed rhizomes.
  24. Polygonatum species are known as "Solomon's Seal" due to the markings on the rhizomes resembling a seal.
  25. The plant is relatively low-maintenance and tolerant of a range of growing conditions.
  26. It can be propagated by dividing rhizomes in spring or autumn.
  27. Polygonatum odoratum is sometimes hybridized with other species to create new garden cultivars.
  28. In some regions, the plant is considered invasive due to its ability to spread rapidly under favorable conditions.
  29. Wildlife, such as birds, may eat the berries and aid in seed dispersal.
  30. The plant's presence in gardens is believed to attract beneficial insects and contribute to biodiversity.

These facts highlight the diverse characteristics and ecological importance of Polygonatum odoratum in natural and cultivated settings.


Angular Solomon's Seal filmed at the following places:
  • Gait Barrows Nature Reserve, Lancashire: 31st May 2023
  • Hutton Roof, Cumbria: 9th July 2023 and the 1st June 2024

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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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