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Convallaria majalis, L.
from the Latin convallis, a sheltered valley, the natural habitat of this lily. Majalis means 'belonging to May'
English: Lily of the Valley;
A tincture is made of the entire fresh plant of Convallaria Majalis, L.
Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Monocotyledonae; Liliiflorae / Liliidae; Asparagales; Convallariaceae
Clarke: A Dictionary of practical Meteria, Medica, Vol. I, 589; Cowperthwaite; A Text Book of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 290; Blackwood; Materia Medica, Therapeutics and pharmacology 265.
Description of the substance
In early spring days, the creeping rhizome, or underground stem, sends up quill-like shoots emerging from a scaly sheath. As they lengthen and uncoil, they are seen to consist of two leaves, their stalks sheathing one within the other, rising directly from the rhizome on long, narrowing foot-stalks, one leaf often larger than the other. The plain, oval blades, with somewhat concave surfaces, are deeply ribbed and slant a little backwards, thus catching the rain and conducting it by means of the curling-in base of the leaf, as though in a spout, straight down the foot-stalk to the root. At the back of the leaves, lightly enclosed at the base in the same scaly sheath, is the flower-stalk, quite bare of leaves itself and bearing at its summit a number of buds, greenish when young, each on a very short stalk, which become of the purest white, and as they open turn downwards, the flowers hanging, like a pearl of fairy bells, each bell with the edges turned back with six small scallops. The six little stamens are fastened inside the top of the bell, and in the centre hangs the ovary. There is no free honey in the little flowers, but a sweet, juicy sap is stored in a tissue round the base of the ovary and proves a great attraction to bees, who also visit the flower to collect its pollen and who play an important part in the fertilization of the flowers.
By September, the flowers have developed into scarlet berries, each berry containing vermilion flesh round a pale, hard seed. Though the plant produces fruit freely under cultivation, its propagation is mainly effected by its quickly-creeping underground stem, and in the wild state its fruit rarely comes to maturity