Convallaria majalis L.
Lily of the Valley, European Lily Of The Valley
Native to temperate regions in Asia and Europe, lily-of-the-valley may also be native to the eastern United States, though it may also have been introduced there. They are not true lilies, and are in a class by themselves. There is something almost magical in delicate appearance of the small, bell-shaped flowers. They spread into clonal colonies via their root systems.
Identification: Plants grow to 6-12" (15-30 cm) in height, consisting of one or two long, narrow leaves about 4-10" (10-25 cm) in length. 5-15 white, bell-shaped nodding flowers hang along the upper length of the flowering stalk. Each flower looks like a small bonnet. They are usually white, and sometimes pink. Berries are orange-red, ⅛-¼" (5-7 mm) in diameter. They prefer the partial shade of forest floors in temperate regions.
It is pretty hard to confuse lily of the valley and Canada mayflower, also called false lily of the valley:
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|Plant||6-12" (15-30 cm) high||3-6" (7.6-15 cm) high|
|Leaves||One to three leaves, heart-shaped, 2-5" (5-12 cm) long × 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) wide.|
|Fruit||Berries are orange-red, ⅛-¼" (5-7 mm) in diameter.|
USDA Zones: 3-8
|Habitats||Shaded forest floors in temperate regions||Rich woods, damp mossy woods, in partial shade|
Edibility: Poisonous Lily of the valley contains chemicals that interfere with heart operation. All parts of the plant are considered poisonous.
Convallaria majalis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
Convallaria majalis on Wikipedia
Convallaria majalis on Missouriplants.com
Convallaria majalis at Illinois Wildflowers
Convallaria majalis on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network
Convallaria majalis on eFloras
Convallaria majalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.
Range: Zones 3-8: