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SPECIES: Maianthemum canadense
Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database. In: Barnes, T.G. & S.W. Francis. 2004. Wildflowers and ferns of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky.

Pavek, Diane S. 1993. Maianthemum canadense. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, 
Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : MAICAN SYNONYMS : Unifolium canadense (Desf.) Greene SCS PLANT CODE : MACA4 COMMON NAMES : Canada mayflower false lily-of-the-valley muguet two-leaved Solomon's-seal wild lily-of-the-valley TAXONOMY : The scientific name of Canada mayflower is Maianthemum canadense Desf. It is in the lily family (Liliaceae) [39,52,73]. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Maianthemum canadense
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : The distribution of Canada mayflower extends from northern British Columbia and Alberta and southeastern Montana and Wyoming eastward to the Atlantic Coast [52,54,73]. Its range continues southward in the Appalachian Mountains to Tennessee [39,54]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES18 Maple - beech - birch FRES19 Aspen - birch STATES : CT DE GA IL IN IA KY ME MD MA MI MN MT NH NJ NY NC ND OH PA RI SD TN VT VA WV WI WY AB BC MB NB NS ON PQ SK BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K081 Oak savanna K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K099 Maple - basswood forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K101 Elm - ash forest K102 Beech - maple forest K103 Mixed mesophytic forest K104 Appalachian oak forest K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 15 Red pine 16 Aspen 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 19 Gray birch - red maple 20 White pine - northern red oak - red maple 21 Eastern white pine 23 Eastern hemlock 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 25 Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch 26 Sugar maple - basswood 27 Sugar maple 28 Black cherry - maple 33 Red spruce - balsam fir 35 Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir 37 Northern white-cedar 39 Black ash - American elm - red maple 42 Bur oak 44 Chestnut oak 46 Eastern redcedar 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 55 Northern red oak 60 Beech - sugar maple 108 Red maple 110 Black oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Canada mayflower is a dominant understory species in the sub-boreal and boreal hardwoods, mixed hardwood-conifer, and conifer forests of the United States and Canada [16,29,75,92,114]. It occurs under all tree species present in the upland boreal forests [35]. Wild lily-of-the-valley is usually a minor species in wetland associations [31]. Canada mayflower is named as a dominant or indicator species in the following classifications: (1) Field guide: Habitat classification system for Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northeast Wisconsin [21] (2) Effects of environment and land-use history on upland forests of the Cary Arboretum, Hudson Valley, New York [51] (3) Classification of quaking aspen stands in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains [103]. Shrub species associated with Canada mayflower and not mentioned above are bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), highbush cranberry (Viburnum edule), and leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) [16,30,122]. Associated herbaceous species include sedges, twinflower (Linnaea borealis), wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), and bigleaf aster (Aster macrophyllus) [46,50,61,90,126]. Prominent ferns and feather mosses found with Canada mayflower are bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), mountain fern moss (Hylocomium splendens), and Schreber's moss (Pleurozium schreberi) [33,37].


SPECIES: Maianthemum canadense
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Canada mayflower has persistent fruits that provide food during spring for birds such as ruffed grouse [117]. It is one of the most common understory plants found at great owl nest sites [112]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : The current year's growth of Canada mayflower collected in July and August in southeastern Manitoba had 8.7 percent crude protein, 29.7 percent acid detergent fiber, and 69.6 percent dry matter digestibility [101]. The concentrations of 11 elements have been analyzed from its aboveground tissues [106]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Canada mayflower provides good groundcover in partially or deeply shaded areas [111]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Canada mayflower populations usually recover from overstory harvest methods that do not severely disrupt its rhizomes. Wild lily-of-the-valley was not found in areas harvested with grappler skidders that caused moderate to severe ground disturbance [77]. One year following winter or spring clearcutting, Canada mayflower was significantly (p<0.05) less dense; at 2 years, it had recovered and there were no differences in density from the control [94]. Size of patch cut or amount of canopy removal (33 or 66 percent) did not significantly (p>0.05) affect the frequency of Canada mayflower [98]. During years 1 through 4 following three different harvest methods, Canada mayflower biomass remained constant at less than 0.24 pounds per square foot (10 g/sq m) dry weight [32]. Methods of site preparation can decrease Canada mayflower populations. Two years after clearcutting, Canada mayflower occurred at 10 percent frequency on V-bladed sites and was absent from sites prepared by toothed brush rake or disking [65]. Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)-birch stands were mulched with various straws following clearcutting. Canada mayflower growth was suppressed in all treatments and had an average frequency of 1.1 percent [66]. Measurements on Canada mayflower were included in the development of multiple regression equations for understory indicators of site productivity, quality, and biomass estimations [59,74,116,125]. Planting techniques for Canada mayflower have been discussed in detail [111]. Canada mayflower leaves were significantly (p<0.005) less able to neutralize simulated acid (pH 3.8 and 5.6) rain compared with other boreal forest plants [47].


SPECIES: Maianthemum canadense
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Canada mayflower is a native, evergreen perennial forb that grows 3.1 to 7.9 inches (8-20 cm) tall [52,67,73]. It has extensive, creeping, slender rhizomes with occasional, tuberous enlargements [39,43]. Most rhizomes are rooted in the litter layer with shallow (e.g., 0.4 inch [1 cm]) extensions into the mineral soil [43,44,72]. Annual rhizome growth can be 5.9 to 11.8 inches (15-30 cm) [33]. One to three leaves accompany the 10- to 40-flowered raceme [52,84]. Berries have one to four seeds [84]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Canada mayflower forms extensive patches of vegetative shoots; branching rhizomes can produce ramets up to 3.9 feet (1 m) apart [24,67]. A single clone can be up to 19.7 feet (6 m) in diameter and about 30 to 60 years old [33]. There is no correlation between production of Canada mayflower vegetative and sexual reproductive buds [100]. Canada mayflower has little to no seed rain or seedbank. Some seeds are dispersed by birds, which contribute to its patchy distribution [33]. Canada mayflower seed set is dependent on insect pollinators such as solitary bees, bee flies, and syrphids [8]. In a boreal spruce-fir forest in central New Brunswick, it had very low levels of fruit set. Eleven percent of flowers bore fruit, and 50 percent of the developing fruits aborted [56]. Canada mayflower had 10 to 35 percent fruit set over 3 years in mesic woods in Massachusetts [84]. No Canada mayflower seed germinated in soil samples collected before disturbance from a mature northern hardwood forest. Immediately following canopy removal, no Canada mayflower seeds were in seed traps; 1 year later, an average of 0.8 seeds were collected from seed traps. At 3 years after clearcutting, Canada mayflower was only in areas where it had been before disturbance [62]. Wild lily-of-the-valley seeds in soil cores taken from 11 sites aged 3 to approximately 75 years since disturbance did not germinate after stratification [3]. There was little evidence of successful wild lily-of-the-valley seedling recruitment, despite relatively high amounts of seed production in several sites in the boreal forest zone of central Alberta [100]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Canada mayflower has a wide ecological amplitude and is found in diverse habitats from maritime forests on beachfronts and sand plains to subalpine meadows at elevations to 5,330 feet (1,625 m) [72,101,106]. Additionally, it occurs in bog forests, ecotonal swamp forests, and is common on fen uplands; however, it is intolerant of acidic soils with pH values below 4.5 to 5.5 [23,27,49,50,53,58]. Canada mayflower may be numerous on drier, raised rims of nonsorted circles [88]. It has been found on ridgetops, steep to gentle slopes, rolling hills, and bottomlands [53,64]. Canada mayflower is found on a variety of soil types [33]. It can occur on organic soils such as found on sphagnum hummocks or heath mats [26,122]. Nutrient conditions may be minerotrophic [122]. While soil moisture is often moderate, Canada mayflower can occur on well-drained to saturated sites [5,10,58,126]. The climate in which Canada mayflower occurs may be maritime to continental and has north to south transitions from boreal to temperate conditions with long, cold winters and short, warm to cool summers [14,49,94]. Precipitation across its range is moderate to heavy and distributed throughout the year [5]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Canada mayflower is predominantly a late successional species; however, it has been found in the understory of forest stands of all ages [100]. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, wild lily-of-the-valley was uncommon on early and mid-successional sites created by landslides [106]. It occurred with approximately 20 to 90 percent frequency in nine mixed-hardwood stands aged 7 to 37 years in New Brunswick [81]. Canada mayflower is shade tolerant and has been found in a wide range of sunlight levels [33,89,104]. It was present in intermediate amounts in partially cut and uncut jack pine (Pinus banksiana) stands in north-central Minnesota where light intensities varied from 23 to 80 percent of full sunlight [105]. Canada mayflower increased its cover in a northern hardwood stand in northwestern Pennsylvania under both closed canopy and single tree and multitree gap sites [22]. However, 4 years after a shelterwood cut in a black cherry (Prunus serotina) stand, heavy raspberry cover eliminated wild lily-of-the-valley [36]. Canada mayflower occurred in seral communities such as bur oak-quaking aspen (Quercus macrocarpa-Populus tremuloides), pure quaking aspen, and jack pine [15,69]. In mesic northern hardwood forests of lower Michigan, it was restricted to mature (greater than 50 years) stands [99]. Canada mayflower was found only in the oldest of eight old-field sites aged 1 to 60 years on the Piedmont Plateau of New Jersey [7]. In Vermont, it was found in 35-year-old eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) stands [60]. It occurred commonly in every part of climax sugar maple-American beech (Acer saccharum-Fagus grandifolia) forest on Isle Royale, Michigan [25]. In the succession of sand dunes in southern lower Michigan, wild lily-of-the-valley came in under black oak (Quercus velutina) at 200 to 350 years [93]. It occurred in the final fen to forest stages of bog succession, whether subclimax or climax associations [23,34,63,76,113]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Canada mayflower flowers from the end of May to the end of June or July, depending on geographic location [8,39,52,56,123]. The leaves remain through winter, and new leaves are produced after flowering [12]. Fruit matures within 30 days [56].


SPECIES: Maianthemum canadense
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Canada mayflower sprouts following fire; very few plants come in as seed [1,14,85]. Canada mayflower recovery may be affected by the season of burning due to the amount of nutrient reserves in its roots and rhizomes. It had reduced recovery after spring burning, apparently due to reserves depleted during leafing out [40,41]. However, it has been rated as an increaser after fire, including after spring burning [40,118]. Canada mayflower survives fire because its meristems grow in the damp litter and ground [9]. Wild lily-of-the-valley located in damp depressions survived a wildfire on Isle Royale, Michigan, and had 12 stems per square foot (1.2 stems/sq m) [28]. Its rhizomes can withstand low- to moderate-severity fires [40,44]. After fire has opened forest canopies, Canada mayflower can cover large areas where it was previously sparse under the closed canopy [27]. In the upland boreal mixed woods that wild lily-of-the-valley is a part of, the natural fire return intervals are between 20 and 340 years [80,119]. Canada mayflower rhizomes can tolerate brief exposures to high temperatures. Its rhizomes were collected spring, summer, and fall and subjected to wet heat treatments. Maximum shoot growth and number of stems occurred after spring-collected rhizomes were placed at 131 degrees Fahrenheit (55 deg C) for 5 minutes. Growth also continued after 143 degrees Fahrenheit (60 deg C) treatments; however, summer- and autumn-collected rhizomes died after this high temperature treatment [43]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Maianthemum canadense
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire top-kills Canada mayflower. Surviving rhizomes grow, and flowers are initiated the first growing season following a fire [27]. Canada mayflower flowered in June following low-severity fires (i.e., surface litter layer was consumed) during October and April. Flowering began 22 days earlier on the fall-burned than on the spring-burned plants, and fruit developed on fall-burned but not on the spring-burned plants [17]. Canada mayflower sprouted within 2 weeks after a prescribed fire and was common in all stands; however, cover had decreased [108]. In stump-prairies of northeastern Wisconsin that were burned in the spring, it sprouted by summer and increased in frequency [121]. Seven soil core samples were collected 1 week following a low- to moderate-severity ground wildfire in April in a boreal mixed conifer-hardwood forest. In the soil samples, most wild lily-of-the-valley developed from surviving rhizomes; however, five seeds germinated from three of the samples [6]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Canada mayflower recovers slowly after fire [17,70]. Its recovery rate may be variable due to the severity of burning or to successive annual fires. Canada mayflower can be one of the first species reported on a fresh burn [124]. In a boreal mixed wood in New Brunswick, it had widely variable responses during different seasons of burning (spring, summer, or fall); therefore, averaged responses among seasons was similar [45]. In western Maine following a severe fire where the organic soil was consumed, surviving wild lily-of-the-valley sprouted after 1 month [109]. However, it occurred infrequently 2 years after a severe summer burn in which all the litter and humus were destroyed and the mineral soil was exposed [82]. In a jack pine stand in northeastern Minnesota under various silvicultural and prescribed burning treatments, there was a 20 percent decrease in Canada mayflower 1 year following prescribed burning when temperatures were less than 900 degrees Fahrenheit (482 deg C). Its frequency decreased by 70 percent where temperatures mostly exceeded 900 degrees Fahrenheit (482 deg C) [1]. There was a significant (p<0.05) decrease in Canada mayflower biomass 2 years after a winter clearcut and summer prescribed burning in northern Minnesota [94]. Canada mayflower took 4 to 10 years to seed in from nearby areas following prescribed fires on clearcuts seeded with jack pine [18,19]. Soil samples were taken from burned and unburned areas 3 years after a fire in an old-growth red pine (Pinus resinosa) stand. Wild lily-of-the-valley germinated only in soil from the unburned area [4]. It was less frequent in open, burned areas than in unburned areas in oak-pine woods [13]. Following two successive annual, low-severity fires where the duff was not consumed, Canada mayflower remained a dominant species with increases in relative densities or frequencies at postfire years 1 to 3 [83,86,91,107]. It decreased in frequency from pretreatment levels of 42 percent down to 1 percent following logging with 2 successive years of prescribed burning [55]. In cutover areas aged 2 to 40 years since fire, it had only 0 to 2 percent cover [83]. Following prescribed spring fires in boreal mixed woods, Canada mayflower frequency declined from 40 to 16 percent. Its frequency further declined to 8 percent following another fire 6 years later on this area [79]. Canada mayflower had lower frequencies (53 and 57 percent) than the control (97 percent) 11 and 14 years after fires in mixed conifer-hardwoods in northeastern Minnesota [70]. It was one of the most abundant species present 13 years following a severe wildfire in mixed conifer stand in Minnesota and Ontario [2]. In different burns aged 9 to 50 years in Ontario, Canada mayflower had the highest density on burns aged 25, 29, or 50 years [102,110]. At postfire year 33, it had similar frequencies (25 to 33 percent) and cover (1 to 2 percent) in four different forest communities of aspen-birch, birch, jack pine-birch, and jack pine [90]. In moist mixed woods in North Dakota, its relative cover 80 years following fire was not different from unburned areas [95]. Fuel loadings were variable in fire-prone forest stands in Michigan where Canada mayflower was a typical understory species; it was present in low frequency (0.3 percent) 84 years following fire [79]. There was no significant (p>0.05) difference in the occurrence of wild lily-of-the-valley under five shade treatments (0 to 100 percent shade) following a low-severity prescribed spring fire [57]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : The Research Project Summary Understory recovery after burning and reburning quaking aspen stands in central Alberta provides information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of plant community species including Canada mayflower. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Measurements on Canada mayflower were used to develop regression equations for predicting changes in forest floor moisture in upland pine communities [20]. There were no seasonal trends in change of moisture content for Canada mayflower during a study to assess understory flammability in Great Lakes coniferous forests for use in the National Fire Danger Rating System [78]. Spring burning may be the most effective control for Canada mayflower during site preparation because carbohydrate reserves are lowest, potentially reducing plant vigor [42].


SPECIES: Maianthemum canadense
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St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station. 47 p. [18412] 6. Archibold, O. W. 1979. Buried viable propagules as a factor in postfire regeneration in northern Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Botany. 57: 54-58. [5934] 7. Bard, Gily E. 1952. Secondary succession on the Piedmont of New Jersey. Ecological Monographs. 22(3): 195-215. [4777] 8. Barrett, Spencer C.; Helenurm, Kaius. 1987. The reproductive biology of boreal forest herbs. I. Breeding systems and pollination. Canadian Journal of Botany. 65: 2036-2046. [6624] 9. Beasleigh, W. J.; Yarranton, G. A. 1974. Ecological strategy and tactics of Equisetum sylvaticum during a postfire succession. Canadian Journal of Botany. 52: 2299-2318. [9965] 10. Beaufait, W. R.; Brown, R. T. 1962. Phytogeography of a representative outwash plain jack pine site. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. 47: 201-209. [7239] 11. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 12. Bierzychudek, Paulette. 1982. Life histories and demography of shade-tolerant temperate forest herbs: a review. New Phytologist. 90: 757-776. [19197] 13. Blewett, Thomas. 1978. Prairie and savanna restoration in the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. In: Glenn-Lewin, David C.; Landers, Roger Q., Jr., eds. Proceedings, 5th Midwest prairie conference; 1976 August 22-24; Ames, IA. Ames, IA: Iowa State University: 154-157. [3370] 14. Brumelis, G.; Carleton, T. J. 1989. The vegetation of post-logged black spruce lowlands in central Canada. II. Understory vegetation. Journal of Applied Ecology. 26: 321-339. [7864] 15. Buell, Murray F.; Facey, Vera. 1960. Forest-prairie transition west of Itasca Park, Minnesota. 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Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 39. Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 1632 p. (Dudley, Theodore R., gen. ed.; Biosystematics, Floristic & Phylogeny Series; vol. 2). [14935] 40. Flinn, Marguerite Adele. 1980. Heat penetration and early postfire regeneration of some understory species in the Acadian forest. Halifax, NB: University of New Brunswick. 87 p. Thesis. [9876] 41. Flinn, Marguerite A.; Fisher, Sharon E.; Martin, Earl V. 1983. Seasonal nonstructural carbohydrate composition of rhizomes of forest understory species. American Journal of Botany. 70: 46. [10111] 42. Flinn, Marguerite A.; Fisher, Sharon E.; Martin, Earl V.; Blum, Ilya E. 1985. Seasonal variation in the nonstructural carbohydrate composition of rhizomes of forest understory species. 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Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 49. Glaser, Paul H. 1992. Raised bogs in eastern North America--regional controls for species richness and floristic assemblages. Journal of Ecology. 80(3): 535-554. [18425] 50. Glaser, Paul H.; Janssens, Jan A.; Siegel, Donald I. 1990. The response of vegetation to chemical and hydrological gradients in the Lost River peatland, northern Minnesota. Journal of Ecology. 78: 1021-1048. [14341] 51. Glitzenstein, Jeff S.; Canham, Charles D.; McDonnell, Mark J.; Streng, Donna R. 1990. Effects of environment and land-use history on upland forests of the Cary Arboretum, Hudson Valley, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 117(2): 106-122. [13301] 52. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603] 53. 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