Lily of the Valley

My local woods are just beginning to be blessed with the sight of Lily of the Valley in their hundreds

Lily of the Valley is a highly fragrant woodland flowering plant that belongs to the genus Convallaria. It is native to Europe and Asia but has been naturalized in North America and other regions. The plant produces delicate clusters of beautiful small, bell-shaped, white flowers that bloom in May.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Maybe you are more familiar with Lily of the Valley as an ornamental plant in gardens. But they are equally spectacular in woodlands when they can carpet the woodland floor.

The lower bells open first

,Its delicate flowers and sweet fragrance make it a popular choice for bridal bouquets and other floral arrangements.

In addition to its ornamental use, the Lily of the Valley has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant contains cardiac glycosides, which have been used to treat heart conditions like congestive heart failure and arrhythmias. However, it should be noted that Lily of the Valley can be toxic if ingested in large amounts.

Submitted for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

29 comments

  1. Boy howdy do they carpet the ground! I’ve got them in at least 4 sections of my yard and hubby hates them because they swallow up whatever is in their path. But I love it when they blossom! That fragrance is so nice, especially with the windows open. Ours typically bloom in May too and though we are about two weeks behind “normal”, it looks like our lily of the valley are right on schedule. I’ve never thought to photograph them so you’ve given me some ideas with your lovely photos 👍

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  2. I was going to ask you if Lily of the Valley is related to Solomon’s Seal when I realized that’s what Google does, so I looked it up. It looks so much like lily of the valley, I couldn’t imagine they were not related.

    It turns out that Solomon’s Seal is a close relative of Lily of the Valley and was formerly assigned to the same genus (Convallaria, now Liliaceae), with several similar species native to North America, northern Europe and Siberia, and cultivated as popular garden ornamentals.

    Our Solomon’s Seal came out of the woods. I transplanted it to an area that got a bit more sun. It went from one plant to several hundred. I’ll have to post some stuff about them. They are among my favorite spring plants. All they needed was more sun and not being so crowded by other plants in the woods.

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  3. In France, it became a tradition to present these to ladies on the 1st of May, after Charles IX first presented it to the ladies of his court, way back in the 16th century! My German friends always mention this plant and to be careful when I tell them that I forage for wild garlic (Bärlauch) because the leaves look similar and I assure them that I always smell the leaf before collecting – and these do not smell like garlic 😀.

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    • I went to the forest the other day but I still didn’t see them as it is now May and they are called “Maiglöckchen” here roughly translated as “May Little Bells”.

      Liked by 1 person

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