Lily of the valley: plant description, growth environment, species and varieties
The origin of the word lily of the valley
There is information that since the plant was assigned to the class of Monocotyledons, the supremacy of Liliaceae, the scientist Karl Linnaeus called it Lilium Convallium. Translated, this means "lily that grows in the valley."
There is no consensus on the origin of the name of the flower. Some scientists claim that it came from Polish, in which the name sounds like “lanuszka” because of the similarity of the pointed leaves to the ears of a fallow deer. Others compare it with the combination of the words “incense” and “breathe” due to the smell of flowers. Therefore, one of the species of lilies of the valley was called fragrant. Another group of scientists believes that the name came from the fact that the petals of the plant are completely smooth, so it was called "smoothie". May lily of the valley was bred in the 15th century. This flower has many varieties.
Lily of the valley species
Some botanists call the genus monotypic and distinguish only one species - May lily of the valley, all other species consider it to be varieties. Maybe it is, but since these varieties exist, we will present them to you. So, the types and varieties of lilies of the valley.
Description of varieties of lily of the valley
Scientists divide the flower into several subspecies. Among the most popular, three varieties are distinguished:
May lily of the valley - it is a perennial plant with three to six leaves and white small flowers. On a thin stalk there are up to fifteen snow-white bells with a pleasant strong aroma. This is the most famous species of lily of the valley, which is common both in the wild and in cultivated gardens. It is used for medicinal purposes and perfumes.
In well-lit forests you can see flowers lily of the valley keiske. This plant is widespread in Asia and the Far East. The flower grows mainly near moss or clearings. What does the Keizke lily of the valley look like? Unlike the May variety, Keyske has larger milky white flowers and almost the same peduncle length. The flowering period of the plant begins somewhat later - in late May or early June.
Mountain grade flower It is found most often in the countries of America. The features of the description of this subspecies are many large dark green leaves and an unusual bract shape. At the same length of the pedicels, white elongated flower buds appear, which open into a wide bell. In the Caucasus, you can find a mountainous Transcaucasian lily of the valley. This is a rather rare plant variety, characterized by very large and wide white flowers. The Transcaucasian variety prefers to grow in the shade of shrubs and in open glades. Flowering is diminished in bright conditions. This subspecies easily takes root in home gardens.
Since the 15th century, gardeners have made lily of the valley a cultivated plant and have bred many of its varieties. The most common of them are:
- Albostriata - thanks to the light stripes on the surface of the leaves, this species even after flowering continues to delight the eye.
- Aurea is a variety characterized by the yellow color of the leaves.
- Aureovariegata - leaves of this variety are covered with longitudinal stripes of yellow color.
- Flore Plena - his flowers are corolla-like and look like terry flowers. Inflorescences consist of 10-12 such flowers, the height of the plant can reach 15-25 cm.
- Grandiflora - lily of the valley with white pearly flowers and large leaves. It has a very pleasant smell.
- Hofheim - leaves of this variety have a beige border.
- Prolificans - blooms for a long time and smells great. It features a low stem.
- Rosea - the color of the flowers in this variety is pale pink. On one brush grows up to 10 flowers.
May lily of the valley (Convalaria majalis)
Grows in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. Inflorescence is a rare brush with 6-20 flowers on long pedicels, very fragrant, white or pinkish, bell-shaped with bent denticles. Garden forms: Grandiflora with very large flowers, Proliferation - with double white flowers, Variegata - with yellow stripes on green leaves.
Lily of the valley Keiske (Convallaria keiskei)
Grows in floodplain meadows, forests in the taiga zone of the Far East, the Kuril Islands, Korea, Japan and Northern China. Differs from May in larger flowers and later flowering. Often used as a plant for parks and squares, as well as for distillation in pots.
Mountain lily of the valley (Convallaria montana)
In nature, grows in the midlands of Southeast America. It has larger leaves than bell lily of the may, and wider bell-shaped flowers.
Transcaucasian lily of the valley (Convallaria transcaucasica)
By the name it is clear that he lives in the forests of the Caucasus. Only. Transcaucasian lily of the valley - endemic. The flowers are larger and wider than that of the lily of the valley in May.
Description of Lily of the Valley
This is a plant of the lily family, characterized by a powerful, despite the low ground part, creeping rhizome. It makes the flower persistent, able over time to capture all new areas, turning in a few years into an amazingly beautiful meadow. Large tender leaves and small white flowers, like beads, humiliating a tall thin stalk - this is how the May lily of the valley familiar to many looks (the official name is Convallaria Majalis). However, thanks to the work of breeders, today you can buy unusual varieties of this spring flower. For example, Convallaria Albostrita with striped leaves or Convallaria Rosea with delicate pink flowers, sometimes also with double edges, looks very unusual.
Where do lilies of the valley grow? The flower distribution range covers all countries of Europe, the Caucasus, part of Asia and North America. This shade-loving plant prefers to grow in coniferous, deciduous or mixed forests. You can see glades and edges, dotted with white bells. For a good flower development, fertile, well-moistened soil is needed.
In untouched human habitats, the lily of the valley grows quickly and intensively. The plant has long been domesticated, gardeners learned to cultivate it many years ago. New varieties were obtained, characterized by larger or double flowers, as well as their color.
A plant that lives near settlements is almost constantly destroyed. This is due to its frequent collection as a medicinal raw material and due to trampling during frequent visits to forests by people. That is why the flower was listed in the Red Book.
Flowering period and smell
Lilies of the valley bloom very briefly. This period takes a maximum of 20 days. You can talk about how the lily of the valley looks at that time. First of all, the lower flowers bloom, followed by the upper ones. Flowering time depends on natural conditions. Flowering begins in spring in mid-May and ends in mid-June. By this time, the blooms are getting dark. In the inflorescences, an ovary begins to form, from which then a large berry of a dark red color develops. It is called the fruit. The size of this berry is 6-8 mm in diameter. Each of its three chambers contains 1 or 2 seeds. Berry ripening ends by mid-July. They are food for some birds and animals, although they can be very poisonous to humans.
The smell of flowers is fresh and tart. The finest aroma of this plant is often used in the perfume industry to create the most sophisticated aromas.
Lily of the valley on a windowsill
Lovers of indoor plants, if desired, can enjoy the beautiful view and wonderful aroma of a flower even in winter. This is quite feasible if, in the fall, you take care of selecting good seedlings and creating the conditions necessary for the lily of the valley to be driven out by a certain date, for example, by New Year or March 8.
First of all, you need to carefully examine the rhizomes: they must be strong and blunt. Before the onset of cold weather, it is better to store them in a shady place or cellar, laying in a box, sprinkling with moss and moisturizing. Then they can be transferred to the basement (if possible), where they will lie until the right time.
In order for the future plant to give earlier and abundant flowering, it is recommended to prepare it for planting in a pot, namely to withstand rhizomes for a week at a temperature of 5-6 degrees (a refrigerator is quite suitable here). Further, the calculation is simple. Planting in a pot is carried out about a month before the desired flowering. To do this is better: cut the roots to 12 cm and place in warm water. After 14-15 hours, they can be planted in moist soil. The pot, covered with an opaque jar, is left in a rather warm place (up to 30 degrees) until the peduncle stalks appear. Now the main thing is not to forget to spray the soil daily so that it does not dry out.
Lily of the valley flowers with already formed leaves, and then buds feel great on the windowsill, you just need to remember to regularly water them.
The magnificent, incomparable appearance of delicate green bushes, studded, at first glance, with fragile white or pinkish bells; persistent heady aroma spreading throughout the garden; unpretentiousness and the ability to adapt to new conditions - such is the lily of the valley. Which flower to choose for growing in the garden depends solely on the preferences of the gardener. Some people prefer the May eye that is familiar to the eye, while others carefully study the results of the activity of breeders and seek to grow an irregularly shaped lily of the valley on their site. In any case, their work will pay off. After all, there is nothing nicer than soon after the snow melts to see a flower bed in front of the house with the first spring flowers blooming, exuding aroma.
How to grow a forest lily of the valley on a garden flower bed
For the first time began to cultivate a wild flower five centuries ago. At first, German gardeners began to plant the plant, later it began to appear on personal plots of other European countries. The aroma of lilies of the valley growing in the garden attracts many bees, which greatly improves the productivity of garden shrubs and trees. It is cultivation at home that saves the plant from complete extinction in the wild.
Before planting in the garden, you need to make sure that the plant will not harm anyone. Cats and young children can suffer from poison, which is found in all parts of the flower. Toxins harm the digestive, circulatory and nervous system. First of all, you need to prepare the soil for the plant. Selected shaded area, protect it with a decorative barrier. The flower grows rapidly and can occupy a fairly large area in a short time, so it’s worth to enclose a flowerbed with garden stones or a facing brick.
Lily of the valley planting involves pre-treatment of the soil. It must be drained and treated with organic fertilizers. A cool, moist, slightly acidic soil, prepared a year before the lily of the valley is planted, will be an ideal habitat and flower development. You need to plant cuttings at a distance of at least twenty centimeters from each other. Sprouts with a rounded top will bloom in the first year.
Immediately after planting, the plant must be abundantly watered. The soil must always be moist, since the flower can hardly tolerate drought. At the end of summer, the plant is fed with liquid mineral or organic fertilizers, and the rest of the year use rotted compost. The soil on which the flower will grow needs to be cleaned of weeds and constantly kept in a loose state.
Lily of the valley resistant to low temperature, for the winter it does not need to be insulated. In spring, it is necessary to clean the plant from withered and dry leaves. In one place, the plant will bloom for at least ten years, but if necessary, it can be transplanted every two to three years. It depends on how much the root system develops. The plant propagates by root segments, which are planted in the ground in autumn or spring.
The plant is exposed to some diseases. A fungal disease in the form of rot of vegetable crops can affect the leaves and flowers of a plant, spreading with incredible speed. It is necessary to fight this disease with the help of fungicides. Red border and wounds on the leaves of the lily of the valley are a sign of gleosporiasis, and dendronema causes yellow spots. These diseases recede when using fungicidal preparations.
Leaves must be treated with insecticides to get rid of sawflies - parasites that gnaw leaves. It is impossible to cure a plant of nematodes - microorganisms that affect the root system. You can prevent the disease by treating the soil before planting lily of the valley with nematicides or by planting several marigold bushes nearby. A flower with an affected rhizome must be removed immediately, otherwise it will infect other plants in the flowerbed.
Choosing a place of residence
Lily of the valley flowers themselves are forest dwellers, and therefore they love shade and moisture. This fact must be taken into account when planting a plant in the garden.
The most suitable place for lily of the valley is next to shrubs and trees, in extreme cases, not far from a wall or fence. This is because the flower will be reliably protected from the scorching sun and strong wind - he does not like them. A well-chosen place will provide long and abundant flowering of lily of the valley every spring. Otherwise, it will stop altogether or the number of bells on one bush will noticeably decrease.
Features of vegetation
Lily of the valley flowers are absolutely unpretentious: it’s enough to plant them once in a permanent place, and then they will take care of themselves. Thanks to a powerful root system and the ability to propagate by seeds, the plant grows quite quickly. Over the year, it usually gives up to 15-25 cm of growth in the root system and, accordingly, a significant increase in the number of bushes. Therefore, in the case of lilies of the valley, another problem arises to a greater extent: restraining their growth.
Lily of the valley does not like frequent transplants. But this does not have to be done: with regular thinning - once every 2-3 years - he can live in one place for several years quietly.
Features of planting and care
There are no special difficulties in growing this delicate flower. Propagated by division or seed.
When dividing rhizomes and planting in the ground, there is the opportunity to enjoy white beads in the same season. But seed propagation is also very effective. Breeding time is spring or autumn.
Spring period for planting lilies of the valley or sowing seeds this April, May. It is difficult to determine the exact time in autumn, it all depends on climatic conditions. The place should be shaded and moist. In general, convalium grows on any soil except marshy. Prefers the earth in composition of medium or low acidity.
You can not plant bushes too thickly, this can lead to decay. Immediately after immersion in the ground, the plant should be abundantly watered and moderate humidity maintained. Drought is contraindicated, it will not kill him, but the flowers will not appear, or will be scarce.
Convalium can be called aggressive, exciting territory, the rhizome increases its size to 25 cm per season.
If in the garden the plant needs to be thinned out and divided, then in the forest the collection of flowers should be extremely accurate. It has a common root on many sprouts and if it is damaged, all processes will die.
Convalium in the wild is resistant to frost, but created varieties may be more sensitive to cold.
Particular care lilies of the valley do not require, but some points are worth considering. It is known that he loves moisture, shady places and does not tolerate drought. Also, when planting between the bushes, you need to leave a place for growth. Avoid severe thickening, divide the overgrown bushes and plant them in a new place.
When to plant lilies of the valley
If it comes to when the best time to plant lilies of the valley in open ground, then any gardener will answer you unequivocally: in the fall, from early September to early November. The most suitable place for them is under the trees or bushes, which will create the shadow they need for the lilies of the valley, which does not allow the sun to quickly dry the land on the site. But remember that light is still necessary for these plants, otherwise the site will be beautifully green, but you will not see the flowers. And think about how to protect the lilies of the valley from the wind.
The soil for lilies of the valley needs to be moist, slightly acidic or neutral, rich in organic matter. Recall: in order to reduce the acidity of the soil, 200-300 g per 1 m² lime, humus or peat compost (10 kg per 1 m²), as well as fertilizers: 100 g superphosphate and 40 g of potassium sulfate per 1 m², and you need to prepare the soil for the autumn planting of lilies of the valley in the spring.
How to contain sprawl
As already noted, under favorable conditions, the lily of the valley can very quickly capture new territories, growing up to 40 cm inland. And so that the garden does not turn into a large clearing with a single flower lily of the valley for several years, you need to take care of this even at the planting stage. The surest way is to install fence beds in the ground around the entire perimeter (for example, slate or an iron sheet), deepening them by about half a meter.
Many, by the way, like to plant lilies of the valley along the tracks. They will look really great here, unless their roots begin to spoil the existing coating: sprout, for example, between the tiles.
Lily of the valley - all its parts and especially bright red berries that appear on the site of charming porcelain bells after they have withered, are poisonous. This requires the use of gloves and special care when working with flowers: replanting, weeding, etc. If the family has children, it is necessary to protect them from “communication” with the lily of the valley, as the kids really like to breathe in the bewitching smell and especially try on taste beckoning with a beautiful view of berries.
Using lily of the valley
Lily of the valley flowers, leaves and rhizomes are used in several areas of human activity:
- in medicine;
- in perfumery and cosmetology;
- in decorative gardening.
The flower is used as a medical tool for the preparation of tinctures and potions. Problems with the circulatory system, vascular disease, arrhythmia are treated with tinctures from the plant. Ointment and medicinal oil made from lily of the valley are used externally in the treatment of minor burns and shallow wounds. Fever and cramps are cured by using tea from the flowers of lily of the valley. It also has a sedative effect. It is necessary to carefully use preparations prepared on the basis of lily of the valley, since an overdose can cause poisoning.
The aroma of lily of the valley is revered by many perfumers, but it is extracted exclusively by synthetic means. The distillation method is complicated by the fact that the plant contains too little essential oil. Perfumery professionals assure their customers that the smell of lily of the valley gives self-confidence, sobering the mind, allows you to think creatively and become more persistent. Lily of the valley flower water is used in cosmetology.
Gardeners have long bred various varieties of lilies of the valley, which are popular among customers of floristic studios and amateur gardeners. What do the new varieties of lilies of the valley look like?
A bouquet of spring flowers presented as a gift is able to awaken tender sincere feelings and give a light mood. The exquisite aroma of lily of the valley will fill the room, bringing to life the joyful notes of spring and rebirth.
The medicinal properties of lily of the valley as a medicinal plant have long been known. In medicine, stems, flowers and leaves, which are collected during the flowering period, are used.
Medicines based on lily of the valley have a choleretic effect and are used to relieve inflammation in the biliary tract and liver. Lily of the valley drops are used in the treatment of poor circulation and some heart diseases. The most common diseases that are treated with drugs based on lily of the valley are:
- hypertonic disease;
- swelling of various origins;
- some types of allergies.
Despite all the benefits of lily of the valley, there are certain contraindications to its use, when funds based on it should be taken very carefully. Such contraindications include: diseases of the cardiovascular system, problems in the gastrointestinal tract, chronic liver and kidney diseases. Also, such drugs should be used with caution in children and pregnant women. In any case, it is better to consult a doctor before taking any medications.