That’s a translation of my Latin name, Convallaria majalis.
Convallaria means ‘of the valley’, and majalis comes from maius, the month of May. I used to grow mostly in cool valleys, woods, and other well-shaded places, and bloom in May, which explains my other name, May-bells.
It comes from the Latin word lilium (white) or, – opinions vary, – from leiron or lirion, the Greek names for this flower.
and to wear a sprig of my flowers in their own buttonhole as a porte-bonheur, a good luck charm.
Dior’s dearest wish was to create a lily-of-the-valley perfume, but this turned out to be very difficult.
Although I smell delightfully sweet, aromatic compounds cannot be extracted from my flowers, as they are too delicate.
While I love to help, I’m not always as gentle and innocent as I look.
For our furry friends, even licking my pollen off their fur can be deadly. So be careful!
What do Tchaikovsky, Stalin and Annie M.G. Schmidt have in common? Not a lot – but all three have found inspiration in me.
The world-famous altarpiece of Saint Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’, which was painted by the Van Eyck brothers in 1432, includes at least forty kinds of flowers and plants.
And of course every single flower has a symbolic meaning.
I also turn up in other parts of this beautiful polyptych: at the very bottom of the central panel and at the feet of the group of holy women.
It’s not clear why I was put there. Sometimes I symbolise purity and humility, and sometimes the tears that Maria wept at Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning.
With me you never really know.
Hi, my name is Lily-of-the-valley. Do you want to know where my name comes from?
40 x 30 CM