Never noticed it, until my friend Izabella pointed its strong stalks emerging from the ground a few weeks ago – she has it in her garden and knew its common name; I had to wait a few weeks till it had flowers.
It grows in a horizontal clump along and close to the south end of the W fence (ZZW Area, right before a row of 13 scarlet-red blooming ‘Eddy’ azaleas, while walking north 0n the Service Road). It is not very noticeable, with green foliage and understated white flowers, especially at the time of year when the Garden is very color-abundant with blooming azaleas.
From Wikipedia: Polygonatum odoratum (angular Solomon’s seal or scented Solomon’s seal) syn. P. officinale, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to Europe, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Russian Far East, China, Mongolia, Korea and Japan. In the United Kingdom it is one of three native species of the genus, the others being P. multiflorum and P. verticillatum.
Description: Polygonatum odoratum is a colonizing herbaceous perennial growing to 85 cm (33 in) tall by 30 cm (12 in) wide, with alternate, simple leaves on arching stems. The scented tubular flowers are white with green tips, borne in spring and hanging from the underside of the stems. […]
Use: P. odoratum is used in traditional Chinese medicine and Traditional Korean medicine, where it is called yùzhú (玉竹) and dunggulle (둥굴레) respectively. In Korea, the root of the plant is used to make tea. […]
Varieties: Four varieties are recognized:
– Polygonatum odoratum var. maximowiczii (F.Schmidt) Koidz. – Japan, Russian Far East
– Polygonatum odoratum var. odoratum – widespread from Portugal and Great Britain to Japan and Kamchatka
– Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum (Miq.) Ohwi – Japan, Korea
– Polygonatum odoratum var. thunbergii (C.Morren & Decne.) H.Hara – Japan, Korea
From Botanical.com (A modern herbal): […] Solomon’s Seal: A close relative to the Lily-of-the-Valley, and was formerly assigned to the same genus, Convallaria. It is a popular plant in gardens and plantations; a native of Northern Europe and Siberia, extending to Switzerland and Carniola. In England it is found, though rarely, growing wild in woods in York, Kent and Devon, but where found in Scotland and Ireland is regarded as naturalized. The Dwarf Solomon’s Seal is found in the woods of Wiltshire. […]
[…] The origin of the common English name of the plant is variously given. Dr. Prior tells us it comes from ‘the flat, round scars on the rootstocks, resembling the impressions of a seal and called Solomon’s, because his seal occurs in Oriental tales.’
Another explanation is that these round depressions, or the characters which appear when the root is cut transversely, and which somewhat resemble Hebrew characters, gave rise to the notion that Solomon ‘who knew the diversities of plants and the virtues of roots,’ has set his seal upon them in testimony of its value to man as a medicinal root. […]