E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Maianthemum canadense Desf.
wild lily-of-the-valley (Canada mayflower; Canadian mayflower)
(Previously in Liliaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© RĂ©al Sarrazin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26958)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Maianthemum canadense
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a slender rhizome; stems 5-25 cm tall, hairy at least in the upper part.
Leaves of flowering stems 2 to 3, alternate, egg-shaped, rounded to somewhat heart-shaped at the base, 3-10 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, short-stalked to nearly unstalked, smooth above, hairy beneath, the margins entire, fringed with long hairs; basal leaves lacking.
Inflorescence a loose, cylindrical, terminal cluster of several to many spreading flowers; flowers cream to white, wheel-shaped, 4-6 mm across, of 4 similar, distinct tepals, the tepals oblong, blunt, about 2 mm long, becoming reflexed; stamens 4, shorter than tepals; pistil 1, 2-chambered.
Berries, globe-shaped, at first green mottled with brown, then pale red, 3-4 mm wide; seeds 1 or 2.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic forests and clearings in the montane zone; frequent in E BC, north of 53degreeN; N to NT, E to NF and S to ME, PA, NC, GA, TN, IA, NE and WY.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Maianthemum canadense

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 6 760 1700
Slope Gradient (%) 0 11 82
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 276 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(412), CWH(5), ESSF(16), ICH(83), IDF(3), MS(3), SBPS(1), SBS(340), SWB(3)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Maianthemum canadense var. interius Fernald
Maianthemum canadense var. pubescens Gates & Ehlers
Unifolium canadense (Desf.) Greene

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References