Convallaria majalis or the Lily of Valley is a herbaceous perennial from the Asparagaceae family of plants. It is native to the Northern Hemisphere in Europe and Asia. They also call it May Bells, Our Lady’s Tears, Mary’s Tears, Glovewort, Apollinaris, and in French “Mugeut“.
Genus name “Convallaria” is from Greek, meaning, a valley, and “majalis” means belonging to May.
It grows through underground rhizomes and has a spreading habit. It is a ground cover. They consider it invasive in parts of North America. Convallaria majalis has interconnected underground rhizomes and new shoots of stems grow to about 12in or 30cm tall. Each stem produces two leaves and a raceme of small white, bell-shaped flowers. It is a long-living plant. Racemes are one-sided slightly tilting.
The flowers have a sweet scent and it is widely popular for that reason. They have six white tepals fused at the base. Convallaria majalis is self-sterile. Many perfumes have been created to mimic the scent of the Lily of the Valley. The plant is poisonous if consumed as it contains cardiac glycosides.
They use Lily of the Valley at weddings, and in France, there is a tradition of giving Muguet on May 1st, Labour Day. Yugoslavia and Finland have selected it as their national flower.
How to grow Convallaria majalis:
Grow Convallaria majalis in partial or full shade. Plant it in organically rich, fertile, moist but well-drained soil. It spreads rapidly. It adapts to a range of soils. Convallaria majalis is rabbit-tolerant and deer-tolerant. Propagate Convallaria majalis by division. It prefers cool weather and is not ideal for hot and humid climates. Watch out for stem rot, leaf spot, anthracnose, aphids, and spider mite.