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Encyclopedia > Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley
Convallaria majalis

Convallaria majalis (enlarge)

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Convallaria
Species: majalis
Binomial name

Convallaria majalis

Lily of the valley is a flowering plant of the Convallaria genus. (synonyms: May lily, May bells, Our Lady's tears, Convall-lily, Lily Constancy, ladder-to-Heaven, Jacob's Ladder, male lily, muguet)


This richly fragrant groundcover, flowering in late spring with plump pendant bells on an arching raceme, is a widespread native in North America, Europe and temperate Asia. Found mainly in shadowed gardens in the northern hemisphere. A less robust, shell-pink flowering form is sometimes seen in gardens.


Leaves and flowers contain cardiac glycosides that have been used in medicine for centuries. In overdose preparations can be poisonous; pets and children can be harmed by eating lily of the valley.


The name "Lily of the Valley" is possibly of Biblical origin; it is mentioned directly in Song of Songs 2:1, although the exact botanical reference of the Hebrew word "shoshana" (usually translated "lily") remains uncertain. The flower is also known as Our Lady's tears since, according to legend, the tears Mary shed at the cross turned to lilies of the valley. According to another legend, lilies of the valley also sprang from the blood of St. Leonard during his battle with the dragon.


By tradition, Lily of the Valley is sold in France in the streets on May 1st. Since 1982, Lily of the valley is the national flower of Finland.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Convallaria - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (378 words)
Convallaria majalis, commonly known as the Lily of the Valley or Prolificans Lily-of-the-Valley, is the sole member of the genus Convallaria in the flowering plant family Ruscaceae.
Lily of the Valley is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Grey Chi.
By tradition, Lily of the Valley is sold in France in the streets on May 1.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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