Lily Of The Valley (convallaria majalis), one of the most popular of the many plants which have the name lily attached to them, but which do not belong to the genus lilium. The generic name is the Latin lilium conval-lium slightly altered, and of which our common name is a translation. Though introduced into our gardens from Europe, the plant is found perfectly wild upon the higher Alle-ghanies, from Virginia southward. It belongs to the asparagus suborder of the lily family, which includes the lily-like plants having no bulb, and producing a berry-like fruit. The lily of the valley is a perennial with slender running root stocks, which produce large scaly buds; each bud sends up in May two oblong, parallel-veined leaves, the petioles of which are so rolled together as to appear like a stalk, and a single slender stem which bears small bell-shaped, nodding, fragrant, white flowers in a one-sided raceme; the perianth, or what passes for corolla, has six recurved lobes, and at its base are six stamens; the berry is few-seeded, and red when ripe. There is a variety with yellow-striped leaves, one with pinkish and another with double flowers, neither of which is equal to the original in beauty.
The plant can hardly be said to need cultivation; if planted in rich soil it takes possession, and the only care required is to prevent it from encroaching upon other plants. The lily of the valley is a useful plant for forcing for winter flowers, and for a few years has been the most fashionable of all floral ornaments. Many thousands of crowns or "pips," as florists call them, are imported annually, consisting of two or three inches of root stock terminated by a bud; these are planted in boxes of rich earth, and kept cool for a few weeks until roots have formed; they are then brought into heat; light is not essential until the flowers are about to open. These flowers, consisting of a single raceme and leaf, bring a higher price in proportion to size than any other winter flower; but a large proportion of the imported crowns fail to bloom.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis).