Convallaria majalis, commonly known as the Lily of the Valley, 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.
The flower is also known as Our Lady’s tears or Mary’s tears from Christian legends that it sprang from the weeping of the Virgin Mary during the crucifixion of Jesus. Other etiologies its coming into being from Eve’s tears after she was driven with Adam from the Garden of Eden or from the blood shed by Saint Leonard of Noblac during his battles with a dragon.
The name “lily of the valley” is used in some English translations of the Bible in Song of Songs 2:1.
It is a symbol of humility in religious painting. Lily of the valley is considered the sign of Christ’s second coming. The power of men to envision a better world was also attributed to the lily of the valley.
Lily of the valley is a popular flower for weddings, although it can be very expensive. Lily of the Valley was featured in the bridal bouquet at the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
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.