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May: Lily of the Valley

Photo/Illustration: Steve Silk
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Photo/Illustration: Steve Silk
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais

Botanical name: Convallaria majalis
Common name: Lily of the Valley

If you were born in May, your birth flower is lily of the valley. These sweet-smelling, dainty, shade-loving plants are a true harbinger of spring, and are sold on the streets of France on May Day. They are poisonous but also used in folk medicine (we don’t recommend trying folk medicine with poisonous plants at home!).

Lilies of the valley appear in several Christian Bible stories. It is said that lilies of the valley grew from the spot where Mary’s tears hit the ground at the foot of the cross.

Some gardeners think this plant gets a little too “weedy,” since it has a tendency to spread. Others love it as a shady ground cover. Do you grow lilies of the valley?

See all birth flowers/plants:
January: Carnation, February: Iris, March: Daffodil, April: Daisy, May: Lily of the Valley, June: Rose, July: Delphinium, August: Gladiola, September: Aster, October: Pot Marigold, November: Chrysanthemum, December: Paperwhite

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  1. rosesjanet 04/18/2009

    When I turned 16 my dad planted Lily of the Valley below my bedroom window. I thought is was sweet at the time but as the years allowed the plants to develop - the heady scent reminded me each May that I was loved by my mom and dad. After moving on to my adult life and living in three houses without Lily of the Valley, I planted some from those my daughter had in her yard and now - once again - I feel very special when they send their shoots through the earth and especially when they ring in the memory of my dad's special gift.

    They are a great Mother's Day gift and for anyone born in May.

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