The lily of the valley flower is one of the most fragrant blooms you will find, but its value goes far beyond the tip of your nose!
In fact, this elegant bloom is frequently associated with traditional feminine values like chastity, motherhood, sweetness, and purity. These meanings aren’t anything new – in fact, this flower has quite the storied past. Another benefit, valley flowers grow really easily!
Here’s what you need to know about the lily of the valley flower meaning and symbolism.
What Does Lily of the Valley Mean?
The scientific name for the lily of the valley is Convallaria majalis. This fragrant flower is used in religious celebrations and ornamental gardens all over the world. It even became the national flower of Finland in 1967.
It’s often associated with the chastisity and purity of the virgin Mary.
The scientific name translates perfectly to “that which belongs to May,” which is just one reason why the flower is the recognized May birth flower. You’ll often find lily of the valley bouquets and flower arrangements sold on the first of May.
Lily of the valley flower colors includes purple lily, pink lily, and white lily. Each of these colors has its own symbolism and meaning.
This is not the only moniker by which this flower is known, however. Lily of the valley is often referred to as Jacob’s ladder, May bells, Mary’s tears, conval lily, valley lily, Our Lady’s Tears and May lily, too.
What Do Lily of the Valley Flowers Symbolize?
With its gorgeous bell shaped white flowers, the lily of the valley is a flower that is most often viewed as a symbol of rebirth and humility. It can be used to symbolize chastity, purity, sweetness, and motherhood, too.
Lily of the valley flowers are thought to bring luck in love but can also symbolize a return of happiness. The flower is a favorite of royals, including Kate Middleton, Queen Victoria, and Grace Kelly.
These delicate flowers were used in those royal weddings, but are also used in floral displays besides those that occur in Buckingham Palace, too! With a sweet scent, red berries, and attractive blooms, this plant in the asparagus family is the perfect choice for any event.
It’s rife with symbolic meanings, symbolizing everything from new beginnings to good spirits and even respect for loved ones. It has a tradition spread far across the globe and is used, again, in wedding ceremonies as well as in funeral arrangements for its sweetly scented blooms and extensive symbolism.
What is the Cultural Significance of a Lily of the Valley Flower?
The lily of the valley flower is a bloom that is entrenched in deep cultural significance. In Germanic mythology, the flower was associated with the purity of the goddess Ostara, a virgin known for her humility.
In Victorian times, though, the flower signified a return to happiness. If you’re a Christian, you might recognize this flower as a symbol of Eve’s tears as she was banished from the Garden of Eden. Her tears were later transformed into the lily of the valley.
Other Christian traditions maintain that the flower is a symbol of humility and of the second coming of Christ. It is mentioned more than a dozen times in the Bible.
In France, it’s referred to as la fête du muguet. It is seen as a symbol of good luck but is also used to represent love. King Charles IX viewed it as a bearer of good luck, and throughout history, it’s maintained this symbolism across cultures.
It even has a mention in the Greek mythology of ancient times, believed to have been created by the god Apollo.
Some people believe that the lilies of the valley can protect gardens from evil spirits. At one point in time, it was used as a charm to guard against the spells of witches.
No matter what you believe, it’s clear that this flower is prized among a multitude of cultures.
What is the Symbolism of a Lily of the Valley Tattoo?
Usually, lily of the valley tattoos are associated with traditional feminine values like chastity, purity, and sweetness. However, they can also be associated with motherhood and are often chosen by mothers to show the connection and bond they share with their children.
Is the Lily of the Valley Poisonous?
With its beautiful sweet scent, it’s hard to imagine that such an innocent looking flower could be problematic at all.
However, it’s important to note that this delicate flower is known to produce green pigment that can stain your hands and lead to skin irritation. It’s important to wash hands thoroughly after you handle a lily of the valley bloom.
Though it’s ironic given that the plant is the perfect choice to symbolize good fortune, remember that it can also be toxic to pets. That’s because the lily of the valley contains cardiac glycosides that can lead to health issues in dogs and cats.
It is an invasive species in many temperate regions of North America due to how easily it spreads (something that is true of many plants in the Asparagaceae family), so be mindful of where you plant your lilies of the valley if you choose to do so.
When Should You Give Someone a Lily of the Valley?
The lily of the valley is a flower that can be given for just about any occasion. Lily of the valley blooms are a great gift for anyone on your list.
While it’ is the perfect flower for religious ceremonies, it is also a popular choice for a wedding, birthday, and other kinds of celebrations, too. Some people give these bell-shaped flowers on Mother’s Day. It is appropriate in all cases!
Because the lily of the valley bloom time is most often in May, the plant is often used on May Day. It’s a perfect gift for anyone born in the month of May! This connection to that birth month is one reason why this plant is often called the “May Lily.”
They make the most fragrant wedding bouquets! You won’t even need any perfume to smell great.
If you’re looking for a new plant, lily of the valley is the way to go. The bell shaped blooms are the perfect choice for anybody on your list – and the symbolism lily of the valley presents simply can’t be overlooked.
Consider growing a few of these plants today!
Fun fact: Did you know Lily of the Valley Flower is also a May Birth Flower?
Image by Shebeko/depositphotos