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Lily of the Valley

This pristine plant has even been used medicinally.

lilies

Photo: Leo-seta (flickr)

Their fragrance is unforgettable, and each stem has ten to fifteen tiny bell-shaped flowers.

The Lily of the Valley blooms in May, and in Southern Indiana they are usually blooming at the time of the Kentucky Derby parties, and they look as fresh as a mint julep tastes. Their fragrance is unforgettable, and each stem has ten to fifteen tiny bell-shaped flowers.

Their pristine white blooms are favorites in bridal bouquets and make excellent cut flowers. Although they look delicate and romantic, they are tough little plants and their lush green leaves and sturdy habit make them an excellent ground cover, in well-drained but moist areas that get some shade.

Lilies As Speech Therapy?

They belong to the genus “convallaria” from the Latin word for valley, so perhaps they were first found in valleys in their native Europe. The plant has been used medicinally and in times past was thought to cure speech disorders. However, I strongly recommend speech therapy as the preferred treatment option for speech problems, as all parts of this plant are poisonous.

Robert Louis Stevenson in the first chapter of Kidnapped described soaking one half pound of lily of the valley flowers in a liter of wine for four weeks as a recipe to promote common sense. It doesn’t sound very sensible to me. Just admire them.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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