Last Updated on October 4, 2023
Not many flowers hold as much significance as the lily of the valley. This stunningly beautiful flower is the go-to plant for a vast array of occasions, from weddings to births, religious festivals, and more.
The pretty flower has stems of symbolism that reach all corners of the globe.
Should you wish to know more about this much-loved flower, read on. Our useful guide gives you all the information about the lily of the valley.
We delve into its meanings, spiritual symbolism and uses. Learn must-know facts on the plant’s history and significance for various cultures. Don’t forget to scroll down to find more information in our conclusion too.
The Lily Of The Valley Facts
Officially termed Convalleria majalis, which translates as ‘valley’ and ‘May,’ the lily of the valley is part of the asparagaceae family. The plant is also known as May’s Bells, Mary’s tears, glove wort, our lady’s tears. and apollinaris.
Lily Of The Value Description
Blossoming in springtime, each stem sprouts two leaves and about ten flowers. The flowers grow in clustered groups and are truly striking to witness. The colors of the flowers range between white, purple, and pink, and form in a bell-shaped appearance.
You can also spot red berries growing from these plants. These flowers have a strong and beautiful scent that captivates. This makes it an impressive flower of choice for bouquet gifts.
Where Does The Lily Of The Valley Grow?
The lily of the valley grows all over Asia and Europe, and can also be found in certain parts of North America. Due to their fast-growing capabilities, in North America they are sometimes considered an annoyance. These flowers survive most environments, but they really hate extreme heat.
When Do The May’s Bells Bloom?
These elegant flowers bloom in springtime, through to mid-summer. May is when these flowers bloom the most (hence the name). It is the official birth flower of May.
Are The Lily Of The Valley Flowers Toxic?
Every single part of the lily of the valley plant is potentially toxic for humans. These sweet looking flowers combine more than 30 cardiac glucosides. The components thwart proper heart function. This means that pets, children, and even adults can be lethally affected.
Despite their lethal abilities, they still make a great component for perfumes.
Lily Of The Valley Color Symbolism
White Lily Of The Valley
Lily of the valley most popular color type is white. These gorgeous flowers represent purity, grace, youth, and rebirth. They are closely associated with happier times following difficult days.
Purple Lily Of The Valley
These flowers represent great achievements and success. They are also linked to royalty and used at many a royal event or celebration.
Pink Lily Of The Valley
The pink flower types symbolize unwavering love, expression, emotion, compassion, and empathy.
Common Symbolic Meanings
The lily of the valley denotes a return to better days and happier times. Due to this, they are a popular flower to bring to wedding ceremonies and anniversaries.
Protection Against Evil
Their unique and quirky bell shape features were the reason they were originally used for protection. People would place these flowers around the house to keep evil spirits at bay and protect those living inside the house.
Purity And Love
These delicate flowers are recognized as the flower of love and romance in France. They also symbolize purity, and a genuine soul.
Lily Of The Valley Cultural Significance And Symbolism
The Lady’s tears pertain to much significance across the world. Read on to discover its cultural symbolism, that still holds strong today.
Since receiving this flower as a good luck gift on May 1st,1561, King Charles ix insisted on gifting others with the flower on the same date every year. He stated this good omen, to mark the onset of spring.
Legend has it that the flower became a symbol for tears and sadness because of an orphan child. The story involved a child whose parents died. She was sent away to an orphanage.
However, each night she returned to her parents’ graves where she would sit and cry. The tears fell to the ground, and grew back up as lilies of the valley.
Otherwise known as St. George’s flower, the people of Serbia pick the flower as a symbol of good fortune, abundance, and fertility.
In Japan, the lily of the valley is a popular gift between lovers, to represent their sweet nature and purity.
German Mythology Of The Lily Of The Valley
According to German legend, the flower was a symbol of purity. It represented the purity of the Goddess of spring Ostara. At each feast of Ostara, German people showed their gratitude and honor for the Goddess by casting the flower into bonfires. This act symbolized their continued faith and belief in the goddess.
According to the myth, Apollo made this flower for the purpose of blanketing the ground of Montparnasse. The reason being, so his nymphs could have a soft floor to walk on. From this myth came one of the flower’s commonly used names, ‘apollinaris’.
Christian Symbolism And Art
In days gone by, the lily of the valley featured across much artwork and literature. The flower represented being humble and honest. It also symbolized tears falling from the Virgin Mary’s eyes in several pieces of art. The name, ‘Mary’s tears,’ is derived from the story of the Virgin Mary.
Legend has it that the tears she cried as Jesus was killed, fell to the harsh ground. There they sprung back up as flowers. These flowers were lily of the valley flowers.
Lily Of The Valley Uses
The delicate flower has been a symbol of romance and love for centuries. As such, many wedding celebrations feature this flower as church decorations, bouquets, and head garlands.
The Royal family are keen lovers of the flower, and its regal associations. As such, it is the key flower found at most royal weddings, celebrations, and event.
The May’s tears are popular for birthday celebrations and anniversaries too. It seems there is rarely an event that does not incorporate these beautiful flowers.
The lily of the valley is also a go-to flower for decorating churches at funerals. They are inked to the tears of the Virgin Mary, and the resurrection of Jesus. They associate with rebirth, love, compassion, empathy, and spirituality. The white lily acts as an unspoken display of heartfelt emotions.
This flower symbolizes hope, eternal spirit, and resurrection. It has deep connections to the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Lily Of The Valley And Spirituality
Some cultures believe that this flower holds supernatural power. For a long time, this flower was kept in the doorways of homes in an attempt to keep negative or evil spirits at bay. It was even used to protect people from the curses of witches.
Lily Of The Valley Tattoo Art
The lily of the valley has become a popular choice in tattoo art. It can symbolize the feminine character, but also the strong bond between a mother and her child.
Some people choose this flower for their tattoo designs as a symbol of romantic love. It is also a favorite for commemorating those who have passed, or to symbolize a cherished memory.
The lily of the valley is the official birth flower of May, and therefore is the flower for Gemini’s in astrology. People born in May often decide to have this flower tattooed on their arms or wrists, to symbolize their birthday.
Growing Tips For The Lily Of The Valley
Should you wish to grow this wondrous plant, here are some useful planting and growing tips:
The lily of the valley is a fast-growing plant and fairly easy to grow. These self-sowing plants will keep on sprouting up for years to come.
They are not a high maintenance flower, and take minimal effort to grow. They will thrive in most soil types, and are extremely resilient once they are established.
The Lady’s tears need to be set in damp or moist soil, and kept in cool conditions for optimal results. That said, these flowers can grow in dry ground.
The lily of the valley flowers will happily grow without the aid of sunshine.
How To Grow Lily of The Valley
Before you commence your growing adventure, remember the toxicity of the lily of the valley. Care must always be exercised. Any children and pets must be supervised when near to this plant.
It is important to plant the lily of the valley seeds at the right time of year to ensure best results. The optimal season for this is in late fall.
The pips should be divided after flowering occurs. This should happens at the beginning of December.
Plant your pips in an area where you know there is an average amount of shade. The soil should ideally be moist and drained. In order to promote faster growth, cut the final inch of your stem.
This will trigger faster absorption of water. The top of these plants should be barely visible when looking down at the soil.
If you choose this growing method, follow the same process as you would for outdoor planting. However, you also need to ensure your container or pot has enough holes to guarantee good drainage. Failure to do this will result in seeing them grow!
Leave The Leaves
Once the flowers have bloomed, don’t be tempted to cut the leaves away. By leaving them on, the flowering plant will continue to benefit from an added supply of nutrients.
Make sure they are watered once each week to keep them happy
However, if your lily of the valley leaves begin to look decidedly yellow, now is the time to remove them.
These flowers hate soil that gets too wet. You can solve this by replacing everyday soil with compost. Compost will keep your lily of the valley in the right amount of moist environment so it can thrive year after year.
If you place your pips or bulbs in water for an hour before you plan on planting them, it will give them a boost. This triggers the growing process to start.
Smaller flowers are safe to cut and use as decorative values. It does not cause any problems for your lily of the valley.
Lily Of The Valley Varieties
Some lily of the valley varieties include:
This type of lily of the valley is so pretty. It boasts beautiful light pink colors that grow between 4 – 6-inches tall.
You can recognize this type quite easily as it features striking double white flowers.
Like its name suggests, this is the biggest of all the lily of the valley flowers.
The lily of the valley is a truly magnificent flower that is cherished across the globe. For thousands of years, this flower has made its mark on humankind. Wherever you look, there are myths, legends, folklore, and symbolism attached to this remarkable plant.
The lily of the valley is a beautiful flower and highly valued for its representation of joy. If you are going to any event or celebration, this is a perfect flower to take as your gift.
Sometimes words feel too hard to say, or situations make speaking your thoughts impossible. On such occasions, take the lily of the valley. It will speak a thousand words and demonstrate how much you care.
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