Lily of the valley - the scent of spring
According to Christian legend, the lilies of the valley grew from the tears of the Mother of God when she mourned her crucified son, and in ancient Greece believed that they were sweat drops of the hunting goddess Artemis (Diana - in the Roman Empire), who was fleeing the persecution of the fauns.
If you believe the old Russian legend, the appearance of the lily of the valley is connected with the sea princess Volkhova. The tears of the princess, saddened by the fact that Sadko gave his heart to the earthly girl Lubava, falling to the ground, were sprouted with a beautiful and delicate flower - a symbol of purity, love and sadness.
Some villages say that the soft scent of lily of the valley bells lures the nightingale out of its nest and leads to the bride. In Ukraine, there is a legend that the lily of the valley grew up on the spot where the tears of a girl who had been waiting for her fiancé from a distant campaign fell.
May lily of the valley
Lily of the valley (Convallaria) - a genus of plants of the Asparagus family (Asparagaceae) Traditionally it was believed that the genus consists of one species - May lily of the valley. Its varieties are sometimes distinguished into independent species, according to geographical isolation, while the structural features differ very slightly.
Nevertheless, in the modern classification, three biological species are distinguished in the genus:
- May lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) - area mainly Europe and the Caucasus.
- Lily of the valley Keyske (Convallaria keiskei) was previously taken into account as a synonym for lily of the valley - the area of northern and eastern Asia
- Mountain lily of the valley (Convallaria montana) - USA
Earlier, the Lily of the valley genus was included in the Liliaceae family (Liliaceae), or isolated in a separate family Lily of the valley (Convallariaceae); in the classification of APG II (2003), the genus was included in the Iglitsovye family (Ruscaceae) As of 2013, in most international databases, the genus Lily of the valley is part of the Asparagus family (Asparagaceae).
The scientific (Latin) name “Convallaria” was given by Carl Linnaeus in his Latin name - Lilium convallium, which means “Lily of the Valley”. The English name - Lily of the Valley - repeats this meaning.
There are various Russian names for the lily of the valley: lilies of the valley, shirt, youngsters, youngsters, the culprit.
Description of Lily of the Valley
May lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) Is a perennial herb with a creeping branched rhizome and thin roots in nodes. The underground rhizome is not thicker than a goose feather, carries near the top a few pale small grassroots leaves half-hidden in the ground.
From the tops and lateral branches of the rhizome, shoots consisting of 3-6 vaginal leaves leave. The leaves of the lily of the valley are basal, long-leaved with an oblong-elliptic pointed leaf blade, thin, whole-marginal, bright green, with a gray bluish on the upper side, and shiny on the lower side.
The flower arrow of the lily of the valley is smooth, triangular in the upper part, 15–20 cm high. The perianth is snowy white with six denticles slightly bent. Inside the flower, the pestle is surrounded by six stamens on short threads attached at the base of the perianth.
The plant has a strong but pleasant aroma, and it blooms from late May to June.
The fruit is a juicy three-nosed spherical orange-red berry, ripens in August-September.
Attention! The entire lily of the valley plant is poisonous, it contains konvallatoksin - a poison of plant origin. Lily of the valley berries have the highest concentration.
Garden forms and varieties of lily of the valley
In decorative gardening, lily of the valley has been cultivated since the 15th century for the sake of beautiful fragrant flowers. Several garden forms (cultivars) have been developed:
- ‘Alba Pleno’, or ‘Alba Plena’ (‘Flore Pleno’, or ‘Flore Plena’) - has up to 12 large white double flowers
- ‘Albostriata’ - notable for leaves with creamy white longitudinal stripes
- ‘Aureovariegata’, or ‘Lineata’, or ‘Striata’, or ‘Variegata’ - with yellow longitudinal stripes
- ‘Berolinensis’ - large-flowered, used for distillation
- ‘Latifolia’ - with wide leaves and pink double flowers
- ‘Grandiflora’ - with large flowers
- ‘Picta’ - with purple spots at the base of the stamens
- ‘Prolificans’ - noteworthy in that the pedicels branch, forming crowded inflorescences
- ‘Rosea’ - with light pink flowers
Varieties with 22-24 flowers in inflorescence ('Fortin's Giant'), with yellow-green border on the leaves ('Hardwick Hall'), with white or golden frequent stripes on the leaves ('Vic Pawlowski's Gold'), were bred and introduced into the culture, up to 50 cm high ('Victor Ivanovich') and others.
Features of growing lilies of the valley
Location: unpretentious. It feels great among shrubs, in the clearing with some shading, with a strong - it blooms weakly.
The soil: Requires well-treated, rich organic soil. Drought-resistant, but on dry soils it fades. In one place it grows to 10 years.
Care: it is recommended to cover lilies of the valley with rotted manure or compost, as well as to feed with liquid organic and mineral fertilizers (in August). During the summer in dry weather, watering is necessary. The area occupied by lilies of the valley is kept in a loose and weed-free state. Lily of the valley - the plant is frost-resistant and does not require shelter.
Temperature: Lily of the valley is resistant to cold.
Watering: Water regularly regularly so that the soil is moist all the time. Lily of the valley is very hygrophilous and does not tolerate overdrying.
Transplantation: Transplanted to a new place in spring no more than once every 2-3 years, depending on the degree of development of the rhizome of the plant.
Maintaining appearance: It is enough to remove damaged parts of plants.
Reproduction of lilies of the valley
August - time of reproduction of lilies of the valley by division of rhizomes. The landing unit (sprout) of the lily of the valley should consist of a segment of rhizome with roots and one (or several) apical buds. Sprouts at the age of 1-2 years are used for the vegetative propagation of lilies of the valley, three-year-old sprouts will please flowering next spring. Lilies of the valley grow remarkably in loose, breathable, moisture-retaining, nutrient soil in partial shade.
On a well-warming spring sun, early in the area free of snow under a tree crown or near bushes, a wide fence (about 20 cm) is enclosed, limiting the distribution of underground branching rhizomes of lily of the valley over the area within which weeds are weeded, drainage from branches is arranged (if there is a danger of stagnation of water ), compost, sheet soil, rotted manure is introduced. The sprouts of lilies of the valley after shortening the thin roots are laid horizontally in the holes about 15 cm deep at a distance of 10 cm from each other, the holes are covered with fertile soil and mulched with leaf humus (the apical buds should be covered 1-2 cm from the top).
Lilies of the valley can be planted in the spring; Sprouts dug in the fall are stored in a non-freezing cool room at a temperature of 1-2 degrees. The largest sprouts can be used for early distillation of lilies of the valley in pots for the holidays - in a cool room, protected from direct sunlight, they will bloom for about a month.
Landing lilies of the valley
It is better to prepare the soil for planting lilies of the valley in advance, a year before planting or in the spring. The cultivated soil layer should be deep enough (25-30 cm). Lilies of the valley prefer well-drained, lightly or medium loamy, moist, cool, slightly acidic soils (pH 5), but grow well on neutral ones. Strongly acidic soil is known in advance (200-300 lime per 1 m²). In addition to lime, add up to 10 kg of manure, humus or peat compost, 100 g of simple superphosphate and 40 g of potassium sulfate per m². In summer, it is better to keep the plot under steam, preventing it from overgrowing with weeds, or occupying it with legumes (peas, beans, beans), which must be removed in the fall, leaving the roots in the soil. Before planting lilies of the valley, the soil is loosened and grooves 15 cm deep are prepared.
Planting material in lilies of the valley are sprouts with a piece of rhizome and a rootlobe. Depending on age, they vary in diameter and carry either a flower bud or only leaf primordia. It can be roughly estimated that sprouts with a diameter of more than 0.6 cm with a rounded top in the first year will bloom, and with a diameter less than this and with a pointed top only leaves will give. Lilies of the valley are planted to such a depth that the roots do not bend, and the sprouts would be covered with soil 1-2 cm.
Sprouts are planted in grooves, in rows. The distance between the sprouts is 10 cm, between the rows - 20-25 cm. Lilies of the valley planted in this way can be kept in one place for at least 5 years. If the soil is dry, planting must be properly watered.
Diseases and Pests
The most common fungal disease is the gray rot of vegetable crops (Botrytis dnerea), which covers, rapidly spreading, leaves and flowers. They get rid of it by treatment with fungicides.
Another disease is Lily of the valley gleosporiosis (Gloeosporium convallariae), which causes the formation of spots with a red border and wounds on the leaves. The appearance of yellow spots causes dendronema lily of the valley. Both are disposed of with appropriate fungicidal drugs.
Of insects, sawflies, gnawing leaves, do very much harm. Plants in this case are treated with appropriate insecticides.
The roots of lilies of the valley damage the nematodes. Their appearance can only be prevented (by treating the land with nematicides or by planting several marigolds nearby). If the plant is affected, it is urgently removed.
Lilies of the valley, delicate, fragrant - one of the favorite flowers, the appearance of which everyone in spring is looking forward with special impatience. After flowering the lovely bells of lilies of the valley, the moist shady corners of the garden decorate the cover of their large light green leaves and orange fruits. It is not surprising that gardeners gladly grow a variety of lilies of the valley in the garden - silver-white and pink, simple and terry.