lily of the valley

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noun, plural lilies of the valley.
a plant, Convallaria majalis, having an elongated cluster of small, drooping, bell-shaped, fragrant white flowers.
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Origin of lily of the valley

First recorded in 1555–65

Words nearby lily of the valley

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a lily of the valley?

The lily of the valley is a plant with fragrant, bell-shaped, white flowers.

The name is sometimes hyphenated, as lily-of-the-valley. Its plural is lilies of the valley. Its scientific name is Convallaria majalis. 

The lily of the valley is a popular garden plant. It is a perennial plant that blooms in spring, grows well in shade, and is known for spreading quickly and being ideal for ground cover. The plant and flowers are toxic (if ingested) to both humans and many domestic animals.

The lily of the valley is the national flower of Finland. It is also the May birth flower (a flower that’s associated with a particular month in the same way as a birthstone). Bridal bouquets featuring lilies of the valley are popular. It is said to represent virtue, faithfulness, and sweetness. It is also associated with Christian symbolism and is sometimes called Our Lady’s Tears or Mary’s tears, in reference to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Example: I love a beautiful bouquet of lilies of the valley.

Where does lily of the valley come from?

The first records of the term lily of the valley come from the mid-1500s. Despite its name, the lily of the valley is not considered a true lily, though it is part of the lily family. It likely gets its name because its bell-shaped flowers resemble true lilies.

The plant is native to a broad range in the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of Europe, Asia, and North America.

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What are some other forms related to lily of the valley?

  • lily-of-the-valley (alternate hyphenated spelling)
  • lilies of the valley (plural)

What are some words that share a root or word element with lily of the valley


What are some words that often get used in discussing lily of the valley?

How is lily of the valley used in real life?

The lily of the valley is popular for flower gardens. It’s known for its pleasant scent.


Try using lily of the valley!

True or False? 

The lily of the valley is poisonous when ingested.

How to use lily of the valley in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lily of the valley

lily of the valley

noun plural lilies of the valley
a small liliaceous plant, Convallaria majalis, of Eurasia and North America cultivated as a garden plant, having two long oval leaves and spikes of white bell-shaped flowers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012