The May Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis L.) - species of perennial rhizome. It is a popular medicinal herb and decorative plant. It has small white flowers with a distinctive smell. It occurs in almost all Polish forests and it is also a plant grown in gardens.

 

 

Morphology

Rhizome

It is thin, subterranean, creeping shallow beneath the surface. It is divided into short internode from which roots grow. The rhizomes spread lateral branching. There are two types of rhizomes: thin, horizontal with elongated internodes and thicker, rising up with shorter stems. Peak flowering shoots grow mainly on the rhizomes of the latter type

Roots

They grow in the rhizomes nodes, they are thin and shallow.

Stalk

It grows from  biennial rhizomes and is covered with wide epiphysis of leaves. It reaches up to 20 (30) cm long and is usually slightly shorter than the leaves.

Leaves

Assimilative leaves usually grow in pairs from the rhizome (rarely 1 or 3). Their shape is variable, elongated from lanceolate  to elliptical. They have pointed tips. They are naked and entire edges. They reach up to 20 (25) cm long and 6 (8) cm wide.

Flowers

They are collected in the peak, one-sided cluster of 5-9 flowers  ( wild plants )  and 11-18 flowers        ( garden forms ). The flowers are  spherical-bells shaped, bent down, with white or light pink sepals and leaves, to 6 (9) mm long and wide, at the end  they have six triangular bent notches  which are 1.5-2 mm long. There are 6 stamens, they have large, yellow anthers (2 mm) and short, thick threads . The top pistil is triple, the mark is about 2 mm long. The nectaries  are situated around the ovary. They produce nectar which attracts  pollinators.  Intensely fragrant flowers grow on bent stalks about 1 cm long. In the wild the lily of the valley blooms in May and June

Fruit

Rarely arise, hanging, red berries with a diameter of 8-12 mm. They contain the 2-6 bluish-white or yellowish, shiny seeds. They are almost smooth and nearly spherical (on one hand are slightly narrower ). They reach a diameter of 2.5 mm

   

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