Fresh Flower Lily of the Valley History
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Flower History

Lily-of-the-Valley Flower History

Lilies-of-the-Valley, Convallaria liliaceae, are May's celebrated flower.   People born this month are well-represented with a plant that signifies happiness, purity, humility, renewal.  This special flower has even been used to describe Jesus Christ or Mother Mary's tears.   Another legends says that the lily-of-the-valley was the materialization of Eve's tears when she was evicted from the Garden of Eden. 

An old tale from Sussex, England has it that St. Leonard bravely fought a fierce dragon for many hours.  Wherever the warrior's blood fell, there grew a lily-of-the-valley to commemorate the noble battle.  Today, in St. Leonard's Forest, these plants are said to grow in droves.

This plant has world-wide influence.   Native to mild Eurasian zones, it was first officially cultivated in 1420.  It is the national flower of Finland and is seen in Lunner, Norway's coat of arms.   May Day in America is France's day to give "muguets," small bouquets of lilies-of-the-valley, to friends and loved ones to wish them good luck and happiness.  Delicate blossoms are also used in pressed floral arrangements.

The lily-of-the-valley is often used in bridal bouquets because of their perfume scent and have come to be used to tell someone: "You complete me."   This plant has been used for matters of the heart – figuratively and literally.  While it was administered medicinally for cardiac problems, we now know that this plant contains toxins that should not be ingested.  

With tongue-shaped leaves, dainty white bell-shaped blossoms adorn these plants from late spring to early fall in zones 3-7.   They prefer cool weather, part sun to full shade, and are thus often planted around the base of trees.  Lilies-of-the-Valley naturalize quickly and can be separated for propagation.