Maianthemum racemosum: 2′ high x slowly spreading / light shade to deep shade / zone 4
This native woodland perennial is a beautiful addition to the edible forest garden. It’s in the same family as Solomon’s Seal, and used in similar ways: the shoots in the spring make a good asparagus-like vegetable, and the roots can also be eaten raw or cooked. If it’s in a spot with partial shade it won’t require much maintenance, and will slowly spread into a large patch. To stop its spread, harvest around the outside perimeter: pick the young shoots as they’re coming up, when the leaves are still tightly clasped to the stalk. Peel the leaves off and discard them (they’re bitter), and then steam the stalks for a few minutes. Use in any dish you would asparagus.