Lily of the Valley by Uncle Leo

Lily of the Valley is a wonderfully fragrant plant that blooms every May. This flower’s blooming heralds the start of spring in France, with Lily of the Valley traditionally being sold on the streets on May 1. It symbolizes happiness, purity of heart, humility and sweetness.

Lily of the Valley grows in cooler climates during the spring.  It spreads to cover the ground quickly in shady locations.  While the plant has been used in folklore remedies, all parts are poisonous and should not be consumed.

This flower shows up in many legends and stories.  It is said to have sprung from the tears of Eve as she left the garden of Eden.  It is also said to have come from Mary’s tears after Christ died on the cross.  One of the most fascinating stories comes from France, where lilies of the valley are said to have grown from the blood of Saint Leonard of Noblac.

In 560 AD, legend tells of a fighter known as Saint Leonard who decided to rededicate his life to holiness.  So he retreated to a forest in the Vienne Valley near Limoges to live as a hermit.  However, this forest was inhabited by a dragon called Temptation.  Saint Leonard was so caught up in his prayers that he did not hear the dragon’s demands that he leave the forest, so the dragon burned down St. Leonard’s hut.  A great battle ensued, with both sides spilling much blood.  From the blood of the dragon are said to have come noxious weeds, but from the blood of St. Leonard, the Lily of the Valley was said to grow.  Those woods are still known as St. Leonard’s Forest.