|THICK MAT OF LILY=OF-THE-VALLEY|
|SPIKE OF FRAGRANT, BELL-SHAPED FLOWERS|
Friday, 8:30 AM. 48 degrees F at the ferry dock, 49 on the back porch. Wind variable and calm. The sky is overcast and it has rained a bit. The humidity is 95% and the barometer is still falling, now at 29.77". We may get a shower this afternoon, and it will continue to warm through the weekend, then cool off with possible rain showers Sunday through Tuesday.
Lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria majalis, in the Lily family, is blooming, its very sweet scent evident when walking past a bed of the flowers. It was introduced to North America probably hundreds of years ago from Europe, was often planted around settlers homes. and is very persistent, often forming large leafy mats. If one comes across a patch of it along a roadside or in the woods it is a certain indicator that a home once stood there (there is also a native species in the eastern mountains of the US, C. montana). The attractive red berries, and indeed the whole plant, is quite poisonous, and has a long history of use as a heart medication similar to Digitalis, to treat heart failure. Children should be taught at the youngest age never to eat anything wild unless it is given to them by a knowledgeable adult care giver.
Lily-of-the-valley is blooming pretty much on time, perhaps a few days late, according to my records: 5/22/15; 5/10/14; 5/11/13; 5/2/12; 5/24/10. In a late spring such as this one, the later blooming plants are not affected as much as the earlier .
Lily-of-the-valley prefers a slightly acidic sandy loam soil, and semi-shade. it grows well in the shade of conifers.
The wild lily-of-the-valley, AKA mayflower, Maianthemum canadense, is native to much of eastern North America and around the Great Lakes. It is a small woodland ground cover plant with attractive spikes of sweetly fragrant white flowers, closely related to Convallaria.