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Flower of the Month: Lily of the Valley

lilies of the valley

It’s May, the month of the lily of the valley!

The lily of the valley is a famous flower, blooming every spring and usually in May. Although spring generally starts earlier than May in Maryland, this May birth flower is the true herald of spring coming at last. Could this flower of great historical and symbolic import be a good fit for your Maryland garden? Let’s explore this flower of the month, the lily of the valley!

Lily of the Valley Heralds Spring!

The old medieval name for the plant is in Latin: Lilium convallium. Lily of the valley is its literal translation into English. Meanwhile, its horticultural name, Convallaria majalis, means “valley” and “month of May.” For as long as it has existed, one can assume that this species has tended to bloom in the month of May. In tradition, it is associated with Pentecost Sunday, which is around May 15. The lily of the valley could be considered the quintessential May flower!

Lily of the Valley in Literature, Legend, and History

The lily of the valley is one of the most famous flowers in history. Its white, bell-shaped flowers hang from a single stem low to the ground, similar to a snowdrop. 

One of the most famous references to this type of lily is in the Song of Solomon 2:1, “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley,” which is the bride describing herself. In Christian tradition, this plant is also called Our Lady’s tears, referring to the Virgin Mary’s tears at the cross. In Greek mythology, Apollo may have created the species for nymphs to walk upon.

Famous writers and poets who have referenced the lily of the valley include Leticia Elizabeth Landon, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Cullen Bryant, George Croly, and many others.

The overall theme of this deep-growing lily is purity, sweetness, innocence, and beauty.

Growing Lily of the Valley

This delicate, bell-shaped flowering plant is an excellent ground cover and likes shady areas. If you have a shaded front or backyard that needs some interest, the lily of the valley can be a beautiful addition. Be careful, though, as if it thrives well enough, it could spread rapidly!

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 4th, 2023 at 5:12 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.