16 Facts About Lily of the Valley

It's a classic spring flower.

While roses, hydrangeas, and peonies get a lot of attention, Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) is one of the South's most beautiful flowering plants.

Its scientific name majalis or maialis, means "of or belonging to May," so if you were born in that month, Lily of the valley is your birth flower.

This graceful, creeping ground cover blooms in spring and grows about 6 to 8 inches high. The arching stems bear small, nodding, delightfully sweet-scented, waxy white bell-shaped flowers.

Let's dive in and explore the fascinating world of Lily of the Valley!


Lily of the valley symbolizes purity, joy, and love.
It is identified by its delicate bell-shaped flowers and lush green leaves and can grow to around 8 inches (20 centimeters) tall.

It actually belongs to the asparagus family.
Despite its name, the flower is not a lily and is scientifically classified as part of the Asparagaceae family.
Lily of the valley is related to many other plants, including bluebells, hyacinths, and Mauritius hemp.

There are various types of lily of the valley. These include "Hardwick Hall" and "Vic Pawlowski's Gold," both of which have flowers that are larger than average.

It's native to muliple continents.
Including Asia, Europe, and North America, where it grows naturally in temperate forests.

Lily of the valley is also known as Mary's tears or Our Lady's tears. Some Christians believe that when Jesus was crucified, Mary's tears fell to the ground and blossomed into these flowers.

Lily of the valley thrives in places with moisture and some shade.
They're often found beneath large trees and shrubs or along steep banks and other rough terrain.

Lily of the valley can live for decades in cool climates, but doesn't survive for long in hot weather.

In the right location, these flowers are incredibly self-sufficient and do not need any maintenance. People who want to grow flowers that require little effort may find lily of the valley the perfect choice!

The leaves were historically cultivated to produce green pigment.

Lily of the valley is a popular ingredient in perfumes and other cosmetics.

This flower is mentioned multiple times in the Bible, mainly in the Song of Solomon. According to Biblical commentators, it is a beautiful young woman who is being compared to the lily of the valley.

The lily of the valley was adopted as Finland's national flower in 1967. It was also the national flower of former Yugoslavia until the country broke up in 1992. France also celebrates La FĂȘte du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day) on May 1.

It's a favorite of royal brides.
Queen Victoria, Princess Astrid of Sweden, Grace Kelly, and Kate Middleton all used the white, bell-shaped buds in their wedding bouquets.
It's said to bring luck in love. Another reason it's a wedding-bouquet favorite.

The lily of the valley was the focus of Thomas Cowherd's poem, "Song To The Lily Of The Valley." Cowherd, who lived from 1817 to 1907, described this flower as "true beauty."

Lily of the valley was used to combat gas poisoning particularly during WWI, and used as a treatment of heart disorders, epilepsy, and skin burns.

They're sweet, but not always so friendly.
The flower is delicate and beautiful, but can be poisonous when ingested causing abdominal pain, blurred vision, drowsiness, and reduced heart rate.

Gardener's World / Longfield Gardens / The Guardian / Bible Hub / Enduring Word / Britannica - Asparagaceae / Wikipedia - Finnish national symbols / House Beautiful / Wikipedia - Lily of the valley / Triangle Nursery
Image credit: Horticulture