Delicate spring flower - lily of the valley

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In May, spring fully enters into its own rights, gardens and forests are covered with greenery, and the air is filled with a fresh exciting fragrance. This blooms lily of the valley, loved by both gardeners and admirers of wildlife.

A herbaceous perennial plant, first described by Karl Linnaeus, can now be found in the forest, it Used to decorate garden areas and early spring forcing, grown as a pot culture. Thanks to the breeders, more than a dozen of the original lily-of-the-valley varieties appeared at the disposal of the florists, in the photo and according to descriptions strikingly different from the wild ancestor.

Classification of lily of the valley

The first description of the lily-of-the-valley as a genus belongs to Linnaeus. In the XVIII century, the plant was referred to the lilies and was named Lilium convalium, which in Latin means "Lily of the valley". Then scientists repeatedly changed the belonging of culture to this or that section of the generally accepted classification.

At present, lilies of the valley, like other well-known plants, for example, kupena, bird-bird and polyantes, are included in the extensive family of Asparagaceae. The modern name of the flower also changed.

Lily of the valley today became known as Convallaria or cavalry. In the people, the lily of the valley is also known under other names, for example, a forest bell, a May or forest lily, gladysh, molodilo, meadow grass, dog tongue or rabbit ears.

Although officially botanists recognize only the European species of Lily of the May, increasingly self-sufficient recognized populations in the north and east of Asia, as well as in the North American continent.

At the same time, differences in appearance in plants are minimal, however, significant remoteness of habitats and the absence of a connection between them is a good reason for talking about the presence of three, and sometimes even four, varieties lily of the valley:

  • lily of the valley May (C. majalis), inhabiting almost everywhere on the European continent;
  • lily of the valley Keyzke (C. keiskei), growing in the Far East, China and Mongolia, as well as meeting in the west of Hindustan.
  • lily of the valley (C. montana), which occupies wooded areas in the east of the USA;
  • lily of the valley in Transcaucasia (C. transcaucasica), which grows in the Caucasus, in Transcaucasia, including the territory of Turkey.

Where the lily of the valley grows

Lily of the valley is unpretentious, has excellent adaptability, so he managed to get on in different climatic zones and natural conditions. In this case the plant is everywhere:

  • shows high shade tolerance;
  • prefers soil rich in nutrients;
  • poorly tolerates drought.
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In nature, lily of the valley can be found in deciduous and mixed, less often in pine forests. The rapid development of the above-ground part and flowering occurs at a time when the soil is still watered with meltwater, the foliage on trees and bushes has not yet completely opened, and the grass has not risen. Under such conditions, wintering rhizomes provide perennial with everything necessary for growth. And in a few years, in the place of a few outlets of smooth elongated-elliptical leaves, a dense curtain appears.

Given the ability to seize new territories, in gardens where the lily of the valley grows, the site for it must be strictly limited. Otherwise, the plant may, in a few seasons, displace other useful crops.

Despite the endurance and adaptability, all the wild-growing varieties of lily-of-the-valley are under threat of extinction. The reason is not only the beauty of flowers and a strong aroma, but also in the beneficial properties of the plant. Therefore, in Russia, and a number of European countries and in the US state of Kentucky, the form is taken under official protection.

What does the lily of the valley look like?

A blossoming lily of the valley is well known to many. However, a perennial herbaceous culture is not only elegant flowers-bells and leathery smooth leaves.

Most of the plant, namely a ramified powerful root system, is hidden shallow under the ground. Thanks to the horizontal light brown rhizomes and the numerous small roots leaving the lily of the valley:

  • excellent wintering and even with the freezing of soil is quickly restored;
  • one of the first to wake up with the onset of spring heat,
  • successfully propagates in a vegetative way.

The aerial part of the plant consists of short shoots and a rosette of leaves. And the lowest, undeveloped leaf plates are often located under a layer of soil. As the growth appears, the real leaves. First they are folded into a dense tube, which gradually rises above the ground and opens. Wide-lanceolate smooth leaf plates are colored green, with longitudinal venation and pointed tips.

When two or three leaves are completely formed, the development of the kidney begins, which turns into a well-developed flower-bearing shoot, bearing at once 6 to 20 round buds. The height of the plant depends on the species and variety. Wild plants are usually more modest than garden specimens, and European lilies of the valley, not exceeding 15-20 cm, are lower than their Asian and Transcaucasian brethren, growing to 30-50 cm in height.

Since flowering occurs on the kidneys laid in the previous season, its splendor depends on the quality of care and the growth conditions created for the lily of the valley.

In wild-growing and many cultural varieties, the perianth has a simple shape resembling a miniature bell. Inside the round calyx in height from 4 to 9 mm there are six stamens and a short pestle.


The first lily of the valley opens on the lower part of the stem, then comes the middle and upper buds.

Depending on climatic and weather conditions, this can happen from the second decade of May to June. On average, flowering lasts from two to three weeks.

How does the lily of the valley multiply

If the weather is not too hot, the white fragrant bells cover the whole brush and do not fade for a long time, giving the opportunity to form a lot of ovaries. When the lilies of the valley are blooming, the air is filled with an incredibly strong fragrance. It is the smell that attracts to flowers many bees and other pollinators.

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Successful work of insects leads to the appearance of rounded berries, with the maturation of increasing in Dimensions and changing color from green to brown, and then, by mid-summer, to a bright orange or red. Inside the fetus is divided into three chambers containing 1-2 large seeds.

The berries do not rush to fall and often become food for birds and rodents. Thanks to this, lilies of the valley successfully appear in places where this plant has not previously been found. However, this method of reproduction is hardly suitable for those who want to see lily-of-the-valley flowers not in the photo, but in their own garden.

If the lily of the valley is grown from a seed, the plant will bloom only after 6-7 years. Therefore, flower growers prefer to use vegetative propagation of the culture with the help of root cuttings.

After transferring to a new location, a strong file with rudiments of leafy rosettes quickly takes root and, with competent care, after 1-2 years will delight with fragrant flowers-bells.

Types and varieties of lily of the valley with a photo of flowers

Elegant scented flowers have long attracted the attention of man. Long before Linnaeus, the lily of the valley was known to the peoples inhabiting the modern countries of Europe, Russia, and Asia. This is evidenced by the mention of plants in the legends of ancient Romans and Germans, Slavic tribes, as well as the use of culture for medicinal purposes.

Since the XVI-XVII centuries, when in France and other countries there was a fashion for bouquets and decoration with flowers of costumes and hairstyles, the lilies of the valley proved to be very useful. Not only did they excellently cut themselves off, but they also served as a natural fragrance, peculiar spirits masking unpleasant odors.

Demand for flowers was so great that plants from the forest migrated to the gardens and flower beds. Due to careful selection, large-flowered varieties of Convallaria grandiflora already appeared. These plants stand out graceful peduncles, towering above the green foliage and carrying up to 20 large white buds.

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Another achievement of breeders is the appearance of lilies of the valley, the flowers of which are not painted in the traditionally white, but in a gentle pink or lilac shade. The photo gives a visual representation of how the lily of the valley looks like Convallaria Rosea.

Not wishing to dwell on the result, enthusiasts of this amazing spring culture created a group of varieties Convallaria Prolificans with terry wreaths. The brushes of these plants look especially magnificent, at the same time they completely preserve their stamina and wonderful aroma.

Not less demand among lovers of garden flowers enjoy lilies of the valley with original foliage. These are variegated forms, the leaf plates of which, depending on the variety, are decorated with strokes, stripes or strokes of contrasting tones.

The garden lily of the valley Hardwick Hall is distinguished by leaves with a wide, irregular patch of yellow color.

Albostriata lily-of-the-valley plants are doubly ornamental during flowering, and after it remain incredibly attractive due to the bright leaf plates covered with longitudinal stripes of yellow hue.

Even more golden reflections on the leaves of Aurea. On some leafy green plates, the color remains only in the form of thin bands, the rest is colored in milky yellow tones. Light, as in the photo of flowers of the lily of the valley, there may be flowers carrying shoots.

Use of the lily of the valley May

In the garden, lilies of the valley are actively used for planting lots under trees with trees and tall shrubs. May bloom allows you to revive the territory, until large plants have not yet entered into full force.

A long-standing ground cover culture does not require special care, it easily hibernates in the European part of Russia, perfectly combined with such popular species as aquilegia, irises blossoming somewhat earlier sparrows. At the same time, by mid-summer, the decorativeness of lilies of the valley is falling. To maintain the freshness of the foliage, the plant is watered, and the remaining peduncles with the resulting berries experts recommend cutting off, so as not to weaken the bloom of the next year.

Lilies of the valley can be grown in the room, as well as to achieve an early appearance of flowers, planted in the pot stored since autumn healthy rhizomes.

If lilies of the valley are picked for a bouquet, preference should be given to brushes that have not been fully revealed. Cutting is carried out in the morning or evening hours, when not direct sunlight. Because of the strong smell, lily-of-the-valley flowers should not be left in living quarters, especially in children's and bedroom rooms.

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