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Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley, is a sweetly scented (and highly poisonous) woodland flowering plant that is 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 (or one of two or three, are recognized as separate species. A limited native population occurs in Eastern USA. Lily of the Valley forms extensive colonies by spreading underground stems called rhizomes. New upright shoots are formed at the ends of stolons in summer, these upright dormant stems are often called pips. These grow in the spring into new leafy shoots that still remain connected to the other shoots under ground, often forming extensive colonies. The stems grow to 15–30 cm tall, with one or two leaves 10–25 cm long, flowering stems have two leaves and a raceme of 5–15 flowers on the stem apex. The flowers are white tepals, bell-shaped, 5–10 mm diameter, and sweetly scented; flowering is in late spring, in mild winters in the Northern Hemisphere it is in early March.
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