lily of the valley

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lily of the valley,

common name for either of the two species of Convallaria, spring-blooming perennials of the family Liliaceae (lilylily,
common name for the Liliaceae, a plant family numbering several thousand species of as many as 300 genera, widely distributed over the earth and particularly abundant in warm temperate and tropical regions.
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 family). C. majalis, the species usually in cultivation, is native to Eurasia; C. montana, a slightly larger plant, grows in the Appalachian Mts. Lilies of the valley live in shady places and have delicate bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers growing on a stalk between two shiny leaves. The plant was long used medicinally for cardiac disorders and contains poisonous substances. It is a symbol of humility in religious painting. Lily of the valley is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lily of the Valley

 

(Convallaria), a genus of plants of the family Liliaceae. There is one species, C. majalis, with several varieties or subspecies, which are sometimes classified as independent species. The lily of the valley is an herbaceous perennial with a horizontal rootstock and two or three oblong-oval, pointed leaves with long petioles. The flower stalk, up to 20 cm tall, has a secund loose raceme of white, fragrant, bell-shaped, drooping flowers; the perianth has six lobes. The fruit is a spherical red berry. Lilies of the valley are widely found in the European USSR, the Caucasus, Eastern Siberia, and the Far East, as well as in Western Europe and North America. They grow profusely in light forests, on forest edges, and in shrub thickets.

The species C. majalis is used as a medicinal plant. Its above-ground parts contain cardiac glycosides (chiefly convallatoxin and convallarin), which intensify the contractile activity of the heart. An infusion of the plant is used, as well as the crystalline glycoside convallotoxin and corglykon, an extract containing all the glycosides of the lily of the valley. It is cultivated as an ornamental, chiefly for forcing, but also in gardens and parks. Cultivated forms of C. majalis are large and multiflowered. Some varieties have pinkish or double flowers, and some have mottled leaves.

O. M. POLETIKO

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

lily of the valley

of Finland. [Flower Symbolism: WB, 7: 264]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

lily of the valley

a small liliaceous plant, Convallaria majalis, of Eurasia and North America cultivated as a garden plant, having two long oval leaves and spikes of white bell-shaped flowers
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
BEAUTIFUL: Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
SWEET MEMORIES: Lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis, was my mother's favourite flower
These include all the spurges (Euphorbia), delphiniums, monkshood (Aconitum), the flamboyant castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), foxgloves (Digitalis), lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), morning glory (Ipomea) and Laburnum.
You can now buy 15 pips (plants) of the white-flowered lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis, for just pounds 8.95 or buy 45 plants for pounds 17.90 and save pounds 8.95!
Charity (mahonia x media) has fountains of fragrant yellow lily-of-the- valley flowers in very early spring, and not to be forgotten is lily-of- the-valley itself (Convallaria majalis), which is perfect for a shady spot in the garden.
Readers can buy 25 plants of the white-flowered Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis, for just pounds 9.95 inc.
For something special look for the variegated Convallaria majalis albostriata to gently force in the warmth for Christmas flowers.
We are offering 25 Convallaria majalis for pounds 9.95, including p&p, or a double collection of 50 plants for pounds 16.90, saving pounds 3.