Lily of the Valley

Convallaria majaliscommonly known as the Lily of the Valley (Greek: Μιγκέ, German: Maiglöckchen, Japanese: 鈴蘭/スズラン), is a poisonous woodland flowering plant native throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe and in the southern Appalachian Mountains in the United States.
It is possibly the only species in the genus 
Convallaria.

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There are three varieties that have sometimes been separated out as distinct species or subspecies by some botanists.

  • Convallaria majalis var. keiskei – from China and Japan, with red fruit and bowl-shaped flowers (now widely cited as Convallaria keiskei)
  • C. majalis var. majalis – from Eurasia, with white midribs on the flowers
  • C. majalis var. montana – from the USA, with green-tinted midribs on the flowers

Convallaria transcaucasica is recognised as a distinct species by some authorities, while the species formerly called Convallaria japonica is now classified as Ophiopogon japonicus.

Convallaria majalis is a popular garden plant, grown for its scented flowers and for its ground-covering abilities in shady locations.

Various kinds and cultivars are grown, including those with double flowers, rose-colored flowers, variegated foliage and ones that grow larger than the typical species. Traditionally Convallaria majalis has been grown in pots and winter forced to provide flowers during the winter months, both for as potted plants and as cut flowers.

Lily of the valley is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Grey Chi.

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Lily of the Valley phenomenon

The odor of lily of the valley, specifically the ligand bourgeonal, attracts mammal sperm in a dramatic manner. The 2003 discovery of this phenomenon prompted a new wave of research into odor reception, but no evidence was found that the female sex organ has similar odors of any kind. A 2012 study demonstrated instead that at high concentrations, bourgeonal imitated the role of progesterone in stimulating sperm to swim (chemotaxis), a process unrelated to odor reception.

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All parts of the plant are highly poisonous, including the red berries which may be attractive to children. If ingested—even in small amounts—the plant can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and a reduced heart rate.
Roughly 38 different cardiac glycosides (cardenolides) have been found in the plant.
The plant also contains saponins. Although deadly, the plant has been used as a folk remedy in moderate amounts, and is currently used by herbalists as a restricted herbal remedy. It also contains the unusual, poisonous amino acid azetidine-2-carboxylic acid.

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Vintage advertisement.

This was a post about my favourite plant. Besides, I really want to acquire more botany knowledge. When I was younger I wanted to become a botanist, but nobody really knows that and I never really tried. There’s always time. :3
(x)
I also named my first manga Lily of the Valley. That was more than 4 years ago. I never even finished the first chapter but the characters remain.

 

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