Garden flowers, plants and shrubs

Spring comes when lilies of the valley bloom in the forest


If you ask what flowers bloom in spring, many will certainly answer: "Snowdrops and lilies of the valley!". Lily of the valley - one of a kind, the most gentle and graceful spring flower, blooming in the forest.

When lilies of the valley bloom, the forest is filled with a tart, dizzy scent. White flowers of lily of the valley stand out like small pearls against the background of dense, wide, dark green leaves, which seem to emphasize the fragility of the inflorescences.

Translated from the Latin language, lily of the valley has a very romantic name that sounds like “lily of the valleys, blooming in May”. Already in the name of the flower laid the answer to the question "when lilies of the valley bloom" is a period from the beginning to the end of May, although sometimes the flowering is delayed until mid-June.

Lily of the valley is surrounded by many legends. According to one of them, this flower is the symbol of Ostara, the rising sun. The Greeks claimed that the flowers of the lily of the valley were drops of the sweat of the goddess Diana, who had dropped them during salvation from fauns. In ancient Russia, the lily of the valley was a symbol of unrequited love. According to legend, it grows where the sea princess Volkhov, in love with Sadko, shed its tears.

Do not forget about this flower in fairy tales. For example, the Irish say that when lilies of the valley bloom, fairies use their flowers as stairs. They climb up on them and weave a cradle of long reed leaves. And someone claims that the pearls of the lily of the valley - this is the scattered necklace of Snow White. His bells serve as lanterns for dwarves and shelter for elves.

In England, there is a belief that nightingales begin to sing in the forest, feeling the scent that fills the forest when lilies of the valley bloom.

In France, there is a tradition that originates in the 16th century. Every year, on May 1, the French celebrate the blooming of the lilies of the valley as a national holiday. They give each other bouquets of these flowers with wishes of love and hope.

Lily of the valley - along with the bear, swan, perch, birch and granite, is a natural symbol of Finland.

Despite the seeming fragility, the lily of the valley is a very hardy flower and can be kept for a long time in cut. That is why he is very fond of florists, often used for decorating rooms and for making bouquets. However, the rich aroma of a flower can play a cruel joke - it is poisonous and in small unventilated rooms it can cause headaches.

Lily of the valley is capricious - he does not like the neighborhood in a flower bed with other flowers, so he displaces them. And other flowers put with him in a vase will quickly fade, unable to bear the discharge and aroma of the flower.

The aroma of lily of the valley is widely used in perfumery. However, this is not a natural flavor, but artificially synthesized.

In medicine, lily of the valley leaves are used, the tincture of which is an excellent choleretic agent.

Lily of the valley, a symbol of love, loyalty and purity, is so popular that it was “turned out” throughout the year, along with hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips. And if in nature it blooms only in spring, it is no longer an obstacle, because you can get a fragrant snow-white bouquet even in the winter season. Lily of the valley is grown in gardens and greenhouses, derive a lot of unimaginable in its beauty new varieties.

And yet, it will always remain for us a flower, warming us with its tenderness at the turn of spring and summer.

Where did the name come from?

The scientific name of the plant is Convallaria majalis L. The letter L at the end of the name means that the botanical name of the flower was given by the great botanist Karl Linna. True, he called it a little differently - Lilium convallium, which in Latin means "lily that grows in the valley."

The word "lily of the valley" still remains a mystery in the Russian language. There is a hypothesis that it comes from the Polish "lanuszka". So the Poles call the doe. The leaves of the plant resemble the doe's ears. Other etymologists associate the origin of the name with the phrase "breathe incense." The fragrance can remotely resemble the smell of incense. Well, another option: the leaves are very smooth in appearance and texture to the touch. Hence, the old Russian name “smooth”, in a distorted version, is an outlandish.

For nerds

Let's take a closer look at how a flower looks. These are perennial plants that have a strong, fibrous root system with elongated internodes. Horizontal rhizomes have scaly leaflets, and elevated leaves develop from thickened vertical rhizomes, usually 2–3. The leaves are large, ovate-lanceolate, entire with arc venation, light green. In the leaves is a large kidney, which throws the stalk. It can be up to 30 cm. This stalk is also a peduncle with practically imperceptible hair-like leaves.

The leaves of the plant appear from the vertical rhizome each year. The color is once every 2-3 years. An interesting fact is that the plant blooms only 7 years after it grows from seeds. It takes another 4–5 years and he dies. Its vertically rhizome rots, but at the same time gives a number of shoots that bloom after 2-3 years. Because of this feature, large curtain leaves of lily of the valley do not contain many flower stalks. In order to collect a more or less nice bouquet-boutonniere it is necessary to work hard.

Species of the genus Convallaria bloom in early May. In the southern strip at the beginning, in the central and Siberian parts closer to the middle of May. A brush with drooping small flowers appears on the peduncle. They can be from 6 to 20. Breeders bred varieties that have fringed flowers. There are varieties with pink shades of flowers.

The bell flower has 6 stamens and a short pistil with three lobes. There are no nectaries in the flower that could attract insects. Lily of the valley attracts bees, wasps and bumblebees with intoxicating smell and pollen.

When do lilies of the valley bloom?

These beautiful plants bloom an extremely small period - only 2-3 weeks. The lower flowers bloom before the top. The beginning of flowering depends on the ambient temperature. It begins in early May and ends in mid-June. In the period of their flowering, insects pollinating the plant become very active. By the beginning of June the fruit ovaries are formed as they bloom. The fruit is a green berry in the early stages, which then begins to turn red. Berry has two chambers, in each of which the seed ripens. Fruits can stay on the spike for a long time.

Sometimes it can be observed when bright orange or reddish fruits contrast with the snow that has just fallen. Like blood droplets on a snow-white bedspread in late December. It should be added that the fruits are very poisonous to humans, although they are eaten with great pleasure by some species of birds and chipmunks.


Lilies of the valley grow throughout Russia. Wild lilies of the valley live in the undergrowth of mixed forests from Adler to Vladivostok. In the world, the plant is found from Portugal and Argentina to Austria and France. A very common plant in the mountains of China, Japan. Actively grows in the forests of Canada and in the USA.

Despite such widespread prevalence in the world, nevertheless the lily is a rare plant. The fact is that when collecting flowers in the forest, the plant is subjected to trampling, excessively tearing out with damage to the rhizomes. If you remember that a plant blooms once every 2–3 years, it blooms for 7 years of life and dies for 10-12 years, it becomes obvious that the human impact on the communities of these beautiful plants leads to a gradual extinction. In Russia, Convallaria majalis L. is considered a rare species and is listed in the Red Book.

Types of lily of the valley

Speaking of lily of the valley, we primarily mean May lily of the valley. In fact, there are many kinds of them. Here are some of them:

  • L. Keyske - This is a Far Eastern type of plant. It is found in the Far East, in Japan, in the Kuriles. Very similar to the May lily of the valley. The difference is that the flowers are quite large (up to 1 cm). Peduncle has no more than 10 flowers.
  • L. Gorny. This species grows in the forests of some US states (Tennessee, Caroline, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia). The fruits of this species are three-chambered - this is the main difference from the May species, which usually has 2 cameras. Many consider the mountain lily a subspecies of May.

These are the main species that are common in forests and undergrowths of many countries.

  • Breeders are very fond of This plant and brought many of its varieties with the most distinctive features. Let's name some of the brightest ones:
  • Albostriata - The leaves of this variety have strips of whitish color. Thickets look beautiful even after flowering,
  • Aurea - this is also an ornamental-leaf variety with yellowish leaves,
  • Grandiflora - the grade has nice large flowers with unusually strong aroma,
  • Prolificans - The peduncle of this variety has many beautiful white flowers. They may be more than 20. The smell is very strong,
  • Rosea - a very unusual variety of lilies of the valley, with pink bells.

This is not the whole list of numerous varieties of plants. There are fringed lilies of the valley, plants with variegated leaves, like Benjamin's ficus, there are even varieties with just one flower, which is also unusual.

Flowers - When Lilies of the Valley Bloom

When lilies of the valley bloom - Flowers

The genus Lily of the Valley is considered monotypic; it is represented by the May Lily of the Valley species. Lily of the valley has a creeping underground rhizome with numerous small roots. The flowers are characterized by a rounded, bell-shaped perianth white (or pale pink) color, they have 6 folded blades, 6 stamens on the perianth, a rounded ovary with a short post.

On a flowering stem, the leaves are missing or are just under the inflorescence, very rarely there are threadlike leaves. Plant height is about 20 centimeters. Leaves obovate or lanceolate, longitudinal venation. The fruit is an orange-red spherical berry up to 8 millimeters in diameter, it contains spherical seeds. These berries are on the plant for a long time.

Many are interested in the question when the lilies of the valley bloom? After all, this is a very beautiful and special plant that attracts with its leaning little bells. Lilies of the valley are more common in forests, but their popularity is growing in garden plots.

When do lilies of the valley bloom? Lilies of the valley bloom in May or June. But in the middle lane due to climatic changes lilies of the valley may bloom in late April. Their bloom lasts from ten to twenty days. On one branch there can be from five to twenty snow-white, fragrant, tiny bells.

The beauty and unique aroma of lilies of the valley is deceptive. This plant is quite poisonous as regards all its parts, especially the red berries that appear after flowering. Garden forms of lily of the valley can be grown in the winter and get a flowering of lilies of the valley for the New Year.

Lily of the valley

This meeting, which is always surprisingly joyful for me at the beginning and slightly bitter in the end, happens for some reason in the most inappropriate places. In the tram bustle, on the hectic underground passages, or simply on a hurried escalator of the subway. Suddenly, the first bouquet of this bird will float towards this spring - and you will certainly turn back and smile!

And then you will think and podsoaduesh: really again? Surely this year, because of urgent urban affairs, again you will not see how white stars of a cherry tree float around the dark water, slowly circling? You can not meet the May dawn in the river bank of a birch grove, pretending not to frighten the quivering nightingale song? Not happy late green fluff in the openwork mob of old oak? Really.

And I decided - this year I will definitely go there.

Not in the immense land of our man, who would not have his own secret, most dear and beloved corner. Well, the "reserve", or something.

For one, this is the coveted “chub” backwater. Frightened by random predawn rustles, one day you came, still a boy, to “your” place. He threw a homemade bait into the steamy morning water and looked, looked at the float, at the motionless reflection of the new month. And suddenly the chub, playing, swung his tail into a thin sickle - and broke up the month into a thousand tiny mirrors. Swaying, they slowly diverged in the water, forever hiding in the quieter shores. And since that day there is not on earth for you, kin, more reserved.

For another relatives solar meadow. Poured, poured into a basket odorous strawberry. Do not have time to pick one, look - the other, the third. Just do it! But suddenly you will be accelerated - and the double arch of the rainbow stands, twinkling, shimmering, over the glade!

For the third, an inconspicuous forest gully is reserved. Gully, thickly infused with the hot smell of raspberries and nettles. Not that flows, oozes on his stone box brook. But here is a tiny hollow. Someone diligently laid it with pebbles so that the water would not get muddied. You cut the long tune of angels - and as long as you do not come off until you get your teeth from the icy water. And you will never forget how sweet and in time you gave to you, tired, native land.

Yes, each person has his own “reserve”. Therefore, probably, it is worthwhile only to see me the first bouquet of bird cherries, how unbearably they pull there - on the banks of a quiet and small river near Moscow, to those copses, dearer and dearer for me and never will be.

I remember, we often came to that mountain. We knew only by hearsay that not so long ago its name was often mentioned in the Soviet Information Bureau reports. We chased each other around the crumbling trenches, rejoiced if we found copper-red shells that had not yet turned green from time to time. We were children. And on that day, tired to the point of exhaustion, my brother and I decided to go home straight along the forest.

Out of the last of my strength, I ran downhill and suddenly stopped, mesmerized. Above the delicate greens of the grass circled, swayed, dancing, dazzling white calyxes. And it seemed thin, inaudible music flowed over the edge of their tiny porcelain bells.

My brother looked at me in surprise - think, lilies of the valley! And how could I, a small city dweller, explain to him then, an indigenous villager, with which I was forever amazed by this lily of the valley. And it was necessary to tell about this.

It is not clear how miraculously groves have been preserved in our old apartment of chistofeddone, which was completely unnecessary in wartime. For example, the swivel chair from the Becker piano. Or a Gypsy statuette: a graceful torso over the plaster bell of the skirts, earrings in the ears, and the gypsy itself blows into a fist, enchants. But among them was one knickknack that did not give me rest. Cast iron hut on chicken legs. All overgrown with magical love spells and flowers, which never happens. On the ridge of the roof is an ominous eyeless cat, a jagged tail bent by a Turkish scimitar. But what's inside the cabin? For a long time I fought over the naively cunning secret of hooks, bolts and hidden buttons - and here is the clue. A string of blue threads, a heap of pharmacy prescriptions, bills from house management. And at the very bottom - a snapshot wrapped in thick paper. The image is dull brown, the most amateur one. But I was watched by a curly young man, almost a boy - a serenely smooth forehead, childishly rounded chin over a turn-down collar. But there was in the eyes of this young man something very clever and calm, modest and affectionate. This rarely manages to grab even the professionals.

It was only much later that I understood why my grandmother did not shout then, finding me after the ruin of her hiding place. There is a favorite in every family, if I may say so, a legendary man who is credited with the very best, whose very name is sacred. Such a person was in our family Uncle Volodya. Actually, only for me, he was uncle Volodya, just Volodya, youngest son, younger brother.

According to my grandmother, Uncle Volodya was something that was not a family name and was quiet and obedient. But I generously forgave her this little pedagogical cunning. I knew from others that he was not much different from ordinary boys - restless and agile for any leprosy.

“You should see how Uncle Volodya drew,” said grandmother, “it’s just that your father.”

As a child, I was a little sad for my father, a real artist, but even here I did not mind. Let be!

- And how he loved poetry. Will start to read - you will hear!

And the grandmother, in an expressionless patter, which she was taught, probably, even in the village parish school, recited:

In a gold cap cast
Old russian giant
Waited for another
From distant alien countries.

Grandmother talked reluctantly about parting with her son. Once he came home and didn’t take it off, didn’t take off his hat, until the grandmother guessed — apparently she didn’t want to show his hair cut — and cried, began to collect the bag. So, along with a platoon of machine-gunners, Uncle Volodya went west. And it was not far to go. The enemy was quite near Moscow.

Then the brothers began to return.

First came the middle one - Nikolay. Came on crutches. And then I met with the life of military hospitals. Classrooms, closely lined with beds, bed whiteness and crutches, crutches at each bedside table. On some chairs hung tunic jackets with proud slats of decoration ribbons. Their owners were lucky - they were allowed to get up, even go into the city!

Then my father came. Death marks always in the most lively place. Дядя Коля был до войны шофёром, отец — художником. Отец вернулся с фронта с изувеченной правой рукой. Нелегко было ему возвращаться в мирный строй настоящих художников. Отец клал кисть в слабую правую руку и, поддерживая её левой, всё точней, всё уверенней клал на холст мазок за мазком.And then for a long time he blew into the sleeve of the smeared quilted jacket on the frozen, wounded hand.

The last, cold winter of the war continued endlessly.

But already there was a happy spring of victory. We knew - our victory! And they just waited, when, when will this day finally come? And so he came. He came along with the hubbub of birds in Moscow yards, along with the first May greenery. On that warm evening there was no man who would sit at home. There was no place to drive the cars - the streets are crowded with people. People, strangers at all, stopped each other, embraced and laughed, cried and kissed. They were united by a common calamity. They were united by the universal joy of victory.

The last words of the winning order were frozen over Moscow - and suddenly the May sky split from the crash of cannons, from the multicolor placer of rockets. Birds flew over the roofs - they could not get used to the night fireworks, although lately salutes have rattled over the city often several times a night. And for a long time a green-white-red fiery plume hung over the city, slowly scattering, sparkling and flickering. Moscow rejoiced.

It happens that events of great importance finally enter into consciousness due to some insignificant, the most ordinary case. So it was with me. The salute of victory died down over the country, but somehow it wasn’t believed until the end, it didn’t fit in thoughts: is there really no war, is there really peace.

And the world entered the life of people. Once I saw an elderly woman selling lilies of the valley from the Kursk station. Fine-legged bouquets tied with austere threads. Above the lacy green palisade of leaves, carved, tender, ringing cups hang down like a master. And then I understood: yes, this is the world! This is the world if people think not only about the fate of loved ones at the front, about work, about bread, but also about flowers!

This was what my brother had to tell. Then, perhaps, he would have understood why ordinary lilies of the valley so struck me. After all, they were a symbol of victory for me.

Now I am again climbing that “military” hill, the height, the name of which was often found in Sovinformburo reports. Time has mercilessly wiped out the ugly scars of trenches and trenches. Amazingly peaceful view from the hill. Long rectangles of livestock farms, a flax mill pipe, a red cylinder of a collective-farm water tower. And they go through the fields beyond the horizon, firmly resting their feet on the ground with steel legs, the mighty masts of power transmission.

But what about my lily of the valley? I run down impatiently.

No, time is ruthless only to everything that is ugly and lifeless. And my edge blooms! Above the delicate green grass spinning, swaying, dancing, dazzling white calyx. And it seems thin, inaudible music pouring over the edge of their tiny porcelain bells.

The only pity is that there is no brother with me. Now he and his team of installers are moving from one Siberian construction site to another. And out of habit, all the brothers very rarely send me postcards - hasty words about new work, about friends, about the beauty of the taiga rivers.

It is a pity that he is not around, otherwise I could tell him the story about the cast-iron hut on chicken legs, the eighteen-year-old machine gunner Volodya and the Lermontov's Two Giants.

We recently moved from our old Moscow apartment. It was joyful and a little sad. It's sad, because I'm used to a quiet green courtyard, neighbors, even a plain pattern of tile floor in the entrance. It is joyful, because a new life is ahead - the straightness of streets, the breadth and abundance of light from the new Moscow quarters.

Below was waiting for the car. Last visited our room. On the windowsill there was a cast-iron hut on chicken legs - not everything you take with you, some things have become obsolete. I habitually pressed the hidden button, pushed the latch. Inside is still unnecessary receipts, pharmacy prescriptions. But I did not find the picture of Uncle Volodya: apparently, my grandmother hid it in a casket, where the rarest heirlooms are kept.

From under the sofa, which we left to the janitor, a corner of a large folder protruded. Plywood covers are covered with canvas. Turning sheet after sheet. Student pencil sketch, watercolor painted apple still life. And this is more interesting. On the table with a blue rag, the potted painted teapot, cups, and lemon. And what a freedom of drawing! On the steep side of the kettle there is a bold, confident flare - and the kettle was immediately rounded, you believe that boiling water is poured into it. Is it really the work of Uncle Volodya? It means that he would really be an artist if it were not for the war.

A small book fell out of the folder. On the title page the inscription: “To dear Volodya on the day of the fifteenth”. I open at random - “Two Giants” of Lermontov.

And came with a military thunderstorm
Three-week departure -
And with a bold hand
Hold on to the enemy crown.
But a fatal smile
Russian Knight answered:
Looked - shook his head.
Ahnul bold - and fell!

And suddenly I could not believe my eyes! At the very back of the book lay a dried flower of lily of the valley. From time to time it became translucent, but did not crumble to dust. One above the other, becoming less and less toys, light, almost transparent lampshades rose along a fragile stalk. From surprise, I even sniffed a delicate flower. And do not believe it, it seemed to me that the smell of lily of the valley penetrated through the smell of the old book.

Years are running by a full-flowing, rapid stream. Now I am no longer a boy, carelessly chasing saloks. And Uncle Volodya would be now. That is why the meeting with lily of the valley today is doubly more expensive for me. It is simultaneously a meeting with a man whom I have never seen, but whom I love and am proud of. I carefully tear off the lily of the valley and hold it to my face, there are odorous droplets of dew on my lips. The person whose memory I came to worship could still enjoy life. And he loved so much to rejoice in her, this poet, artist and machine gunner!

May. A month of work, peace and happiness! A month of flowers! There are no other flowers in our country: crocuses and sausages of the Polar region, mallows and fiery Siberian frying. And each person has his favorite cherished flower, his most expensive reserve.