Polygonatum pubescens is a perennial monocotyledon herb, colonial from short rhizomes, roots sparingly associated with VA mycorrhizas (Brundrett and Kendrick 1988), stem unbranched, nodding, 50-90 cm tall.
Leaves alternate, 2-ranked, short-stalked, blade 4-12 cm long, 1-6 cm wide, narrowly elliptic to broadly oval, pointed at both ends, veins 3-9, pale, waxy below, finely hairy on lower veins (use lens).
Flowers radially symmetrical, tubular, yellowish-green, 1 cm long, 1-2 on thin, pendant stalks along underside of stem; blooming May-June.
Fruit fleshy, blue, 1-seeded, fruiting Aug.-Sept.
Fruit probably eaten, and seeds dispersed by birds and small mammals.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Herb layer of moist, undisturbed woods. Shade tolerant. Tolerates soil acidity down to pH 3.9 (Greller et al 1990). Found in forest soil pH 5.0 (Gargiullo unpublished data). Summer green herb, leaves live about 22 weeks (Hicks and Chabot 1985), Requires at least 0.1% sunlight in order to survive (compensation point), cannot use more than 2.5% full sunlight (saturation point) (Hicks and Chabot 1985).