lilly of the valley

Lily of the Valley – one of the sweetest smells of spring

Lily of the Valley is one of those subtle, delicate plants that are dormant in the winter and pop up in spring.  But don’t let its fragile tiny white bell flowers and red berries fool you — the entire plant is actually highly poisonous when ingested. Beloved for years as ground cover under shade trees and in woodland gardens, Lily of the Valley is also known as Our Lady’s Tears and Mary’s Tears.

This springtime perennial will thrive in low-light locations and can form a large colony (underground spreader).  If you have a favorite bench in a shady area consider surrounding it with these green and white beauties so you can enjoy their beautiful tranquil scent. It’s nature’s version of “aromatherapy”.  They will flower in late spring or in milder winters and can come up as early as March.

Here’s some little known facts about this fragrant plant with the toxic punch:

Christian legend:  Also dubbed Our Lady’s Tears and Mary’s Tears derived from legends that sprang from the weeping of the Virgin Mary during the crucifixion of Jesus.  Others claim it came into being from Eve’s tears after and she and Adam were booted out of the Garden of Eden.

Lily of the Valley is a symbol of humility in religious paintings and considered to be the sign of Christ’s second coming.

The French Company Dior produced a simulated Lily of the Valley fragrance in 1956 — it was one of Christian Dior’s favorite flowers.

May Birth Flower: representing humility, chastity, sweetness and purity.

National Flower of Finland since 1967.

Muguet is a name that sometimes appears on French perfumes that imitate the Lily of the Valley fragrance.