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The secrets of lily of the valley

May 1 is not only Labor Day, it is also an opportunity to offer your loved ones a lucky charm. Which ? Obviously thrush. For a fragile flower not exceeding thirty centimeters in height, lily of the valley is a poetic — and surprisingly powerful —  plant. As the flower blooms in delicate clusters of small, bell-shaped bulbs, its fragrance is powerful. Lily of the Valley is known to symbolise happiness and hope, and is one of my favorite scents.

Here are seven things you might not know about this iconic plant.

1- It brings luck: Oh yes...

A favorite flower of brides (Queen Victoria, Princess Astrid of Sweden, Grace Kelly and Kate Middleton have all incorporated the flower into their bouquets), this delicate bell-shaped flower brings good luck in love. The tradition begins in France, lily of the valley has been given as a gift for centuries. Legend has it that it all began on May 1, 1561 during the brief reign of Charles IX, the king having received a sprig of the little flower during a stay in the Drôme, the son of Catherine de Medici fell in love with this plant and perpetuated the custom by instituting it as a tradition at his court The king liked the idea so much that he decided to start a tradition.

2- It's a tradition

Often used in religious ceremonies and celebrations for its purity and sweet fragrance. On May 1 in France, called La Fête du Muguet, bouquets of small buds are sold on the street and worn in lapels. If the lily of the valley is liked in France, it is however not native to France but to Japan! Brought back from a trip in the Middle Ages, it quickly became integrated into local species, until it became the essential spring plant. Very present in France, the habit has also taken hold in Switzerland, Belgium and Andorra!

3- It is a finnish symbol In 1967 it became the national flower of Finland, chosen to represent the attractiveness and gentleness of Finns.

4- And if you are superstitious In folklore, lily of the valley is said to protect gardens from evil spirits and is also considered the flower of fairies, who drink from its tiny cups.

5- For romantics Legend has it that the powerful scent of lily of the valley attracts the nightingale in search of its mate. It has also been linked to increased fertility in men, due to a component of its fragrance known as Borgeonal, which allegedly alters calcium balance and therefore has attractive powers. 6- It is related to asparagus: ah good? Despite its name, lily of the valley is technically not a lily. Scientifically part of the asparagus family, Asparagaceae, which means its leaves are reduced to small clusters on one side of the stem, and the green stems act as the main structure of the plant.

7- And in addition, it has healing qualities are powerful! During World War I it was used to treat soldiers exposed to poison gas, and it is also a treatment for heart trouble, urinary tract infections, epilepsy, kidney stones and burns. In 2019, the lily of the valley industry in France produced no less than 60 million sprigs of lily of the valley. In perfumery, lily of the valley is a mute flower from which neither essence nor absolute can be extracted. As a result, perfumers are doubling their creativity to try to approach this very special scent that announces the return of sunny days.

What does lily of the valley smell like?

Fresh, spring-like, light, watery, slightly jasmine, floral, crisp green.

Lily of the valley is widely used in perfumery and scent marketing. Indeed, its very characteristic smell has demonstrated relaxing effects. Long live spring!

Anne-Marie Spencer

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