Did you know that
the fragrance of Lily of the
Valley was purported to attract Nightingales?
Convallaria majalis--Lily of the
Convalaria majalis- Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Lily of the Valley's (Convallaria Majalis, also known as Jacob's Ladder,
Convallaria, Male Lily, Our Lady's Tears, Convall-lily, Lily Constancy,
Ladder-to-Heaven, Muguet and May Lily) name, "Majalis" signifies "that which belongs to May", and the old
astrological books place the plant under the dominion of Mercury, since
Maia, the daughter
of Atlas, was the mother of Mercury or Hermes. These chaste white flowers were once known
as "Our Lady's Tears", and the fragrance was purported to attract
There is an old Sussex legend that St. Leonard fought against a great dragon in the woods
near Horsham, only vanquishing it after a mortal combat lasting many
hours, during which
he received grievous wounds, but wherever his blood fell, Lilies-of-the-Valley sprang up
to commemorate the desperate fight. The sweet scent of these tiny flowers is so strong it
literally floats on the breeze.
Comments: Convallaria produces
racemes of fragrant bell
shaped flowers in either white or very pale pink. The flowers may be followed by scattered
production of red berries. The berries are poisonous. The plant may be grown in sun or
shade and can be used as a ground cover. Convallaria prefers a rich, moist soil but
tolerates some dryness. A planting benefits from an October top dressing consisting of
compost, leaf mold or well rotted manure plus a complete fertilizer. Once the plants are
established, leave them alone until they begin to deteriorate from
overcrowding. The plant
may become invasive and difficult to get rid of.
Propagation: Propagation is by rhizome division in late September or
October, or in early spring. Pips are large buds on the end of the rhizomes and their tips should be one inch
below the soil surface. Cuttings must not be left out of water too
long. Keep cool and shaded.
Cultivars: 'Fortin's Giant' - The longer flower stems produces larger flowers.
'Rosea' - Light pink flowers.
Language of flowers-
Folkore: Signifies a "return to happiness".Much used in bridal arrangements for their sweet
associated with May 1st, especially in France where the "muguet" is handed out
at special events