Description from Flora of China
Oligobotrya Baker; Polygonastrum Moench; Smilacina Desfontaines; Tovaria Necker ex Baker (1875), not Ruiz & Pavón (1794); Vagnera Adanson.
Herbs perennial, rhizomatous. Stems erect, simple. Leaves alternate, sessile or petiolate, usually elliptic to ovate, sometimes basal leaf solitary and early withered. Inflorescence a terminal raceme or panicle. Flowers bisexual or sometimes unisexual (when plants dioceous), small. Perianth segments 4 or 6, in 2 whorls, free or proximally ± connate, rarely forming a long tube. Stamens 4 or 6, inserted at base of perianth segments or adnate to perianth tube; filaments filiform; anthers dorsifixed. Ovary 2- or 3-loculed; ovules 1 or 2 per locule. Style columnar, relatively short; stigma entire or 2- or 3-lobed. Fruit a berry, globose or subglobose. Seeds 1--3, globose to ovoid.
Wu Zhengyi (editor’s note) believes that Smilacina would be better kept separate from Maianthemum on the basis of morphology and geographic distribution.
About 35 species: mainly in E Asia and North America, also in N Asia, Central America, and N Europe; 19 species (nine endemic) in China.
(Authors: Chen Xinqi (陈心启 Chen Sing-chi); Shoichi Kawano)