May’s Birth Flower- Lilies of the Valley!

May 1, 2011

Lily of the Valley

May is the birth month of Lily of the Valley. These stunning white flowers symbolize happiness, purity of the heart, chastity, tears of the Virgin Mary and sweetness. The legend of these flowers is they came from Eve’s tears when she was sent out of the Garden of Eden. They are believed to protect gardens from evil spirits when planted. They have also symbolized humility, love’s good fortune and the idea of making one’s life complete from the legendary stories.

Lilies of the Valley have many different meanings to people from legend, folk stories and Biblical times. To Christians, the Lily of the Valley represents the second coming of Christ since it blooms so early in the spring. Brides love Lily of the Valley flowers in their wedding bouquets for its sweet smell and perfume and symbol of chastity, happiness, love and luck. Tales about the strong fragrance luring the nightingale to find his mate have also made this a popular flower for brides to choose. In Holland, these flowers are planted in newly married couples gardens to symbolize the renewal of their love.  Lily of the Valley is also Finland’s national flower. In France, on May Day, Lilies of the Valley are sold in the streets in large bunches and people wear a small sprig on their shirt to celebrate the tradition started by King Charles IX in 1561.

French legend holds that Saint Leonard, a close friend of King Clovis, retreated to live his life in peace in the woods and was antagonized by a dragon. Many battles between the two ensued with Saint Leonard being triumphant, however, much of his blood was shed and it is said that where his blood fell, Lilies of the Valley sprung up to commemorate his valor.

Lily of the Valley has a few other names such as Mary’s tears, ladder to heaven, lady’s tears and Jacob’s ladder. Lily of the Valley has also been known as “Poisonous Tears” since the entire plant is poisonous to humans, cats and dogs. If ingested, it can cause irregular heartbeat and pulse, upset digestion and create mental confusion. It can also cause skin irritation such as rashes or hives, if you come in contact with the pretty flower you should be sure to wash your hands and never rub your eyes.

Despite them being poisonous they are still popular to gardeners around the world. To read more about growing these in your Spring garden today, check out this site for more information on indoor/outdoor growing.


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