May Birth Flower – Convallaria majalis
We made it to MAY and guess what!? It’s time for flowers to start blooming…at least in our neck of the woods! Depending on what type of garden you are growing and what zone you are in you should see some awesome flowers start blooming! With that being said let’s fill that brain of yours with some info on May’s birth flower!
Lily of the Valley: A Short History of the May Birth Flower!
Welcome to the official start of spring the Maiglöckchen has sprouted! In Germany, the first sign of the Maiglöckchen or Lily of the Valley is the official start of Spring. Remember when you learned about the Germanic goddess Ostara in our last blog? The Lily of the Valley is associated with this springtime goddess, the banisher of winter! It’s believed that around the 15th century the Catholic church adopted this flower as part of their religious beliefs.
According to Catholic legend, when the Virgin Mary cried at the cross during the crucifixion of Jesus her tears created the growth of flowers by the cross. That is the reason the Lily of the Valley is known as “our lady’s tears” or “Mary’s Tears!” Another Christian legend says that when Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden the flowers sprouted out of the ground by her feet.
If you live anywhere that is not part of the Mediterranean or Atlantic margin, you might have seen these small ground-covering flowers. Lily of the Valley prefers shaded areas so be sure to look closely under trees or next to buildings during the start of Spring. They are tiny and can be missed easily, however, the giant leaves are a dead giveaway. These beautiful smelling bell flowers can be found all across the US but, the nativity can be traced back to Europe!
If you believe in European folklore then get this! Forest fairies break off the bell-shaped flowers, flip them upside down, and use them as teacups!
Hope, Motherhood, & Sweetness are the three meanings associated with the Lily of the Valley. However, the flower does have a ton of meaning all over the world and for different reasons. For example in marriage, this flower usually represents faithfulness and good luck!
According to legend and folklore, if you have these flowers in your garden you are protecting your house from evil spirits. In Christianity, its meanings are chastity and purity.
Medicinal uses of Lily of the Valley
Arguably one of the best-smelling flowers and often used in bridal bouquets, it makes us wonder, does this flower have any medicinal uses?
We will get into that answer below but first, read this! Over 30 different cardenolides (organic compounds that increase heart rate) have been found inside of the plant, making it highly toxic to humans and domestic animals. In case you missed it. ALL PARTS OF THIS FLOWER ARE POISONOUS.
Throughout history, this plant has been used and with proven results for help with the heart. Possibly, due to the compounds that are mentioned above. Lily of the Valley can be used as a strong diuretic and laxative. Again, this is one of the most poisonous birth flowers.
*All content on theheadedwest.com is not intended as medical advice, herbal healing, diagnosis, or treatment. We simply share information and history. Do not try herbal remedies at home without talking to a trained professional! Always seek a professional doctor for help.*