Introduction to May Birth Flowers
The hawthorn and Lily-of-the Valley are the May birth flowers. Please learn about their significance, history, meanings, and tips for growing the delicate blooming plant and flowering flower blossom in May!
What Are the May Birth Flowers?
With its small, delicate, bell-shaped, white flowers, Lily of the Valley is a perennial grass that can be sprayed out frenziedly in the appropriate conditions. They symbolize purity and sweetness.
Hawthorns are flowering plants in the rose family. They have flowers that bloom in May. The flowers are tiny white, red, or rose clusters. Small berries, also known as haws, appear following the blooms. The hawthorn is a traditional symbol of hope.
Primary May Birth Flower: Lily of the Valley
Also known in the form of Our Lady’s Tears, May the Lily, or May Bells, the lily of the Valley (Convallaria Majalis) is not actually considered a lily but instead is a part of the asparagus family of Asparagaceae. Originating from Eurasia, The Lily of the Valley plant has been more naturalized within North America, established in garden areas for its easy-to-use leaves and beautiful flowers. It creates pendulous, bell-shaped white flowers with an intense, sweet scent. It also produces purple or pink blossoms.
Lily of the Valley Meanings and Symbolism
- In ancient astrology, the lily of the valley was believed to be a protection for the god’s son, Maia. According to Greek mythology, the son was Hermes. For the Romans, they thought it was Mercury.
- As per legend, the lily of the valley was enthralled by the nightingale’s song and only began to bloom when the bird returned to the woods during May.
- Also, it is believed Apollo invented the groundcover flower for nymphs to walk on.
- The flower is linked to motherhood, purity, sweetness, and awe. It represents a return to happiness, possibly because of its blossoming season and the anticipation of summer.
- In Christian folklore, the lily of the valley came to be because of Eve’s tears following her being exiled out of Eden. Garden of Eden. It is also believed that the lily of the valley grew from the tears shed by Mary on the spot of Christ’s death.
Lily of the Valley in History
- In the 1500s in the 1500s, King Charles IX gifted Lily of the Valley for luck during May Day every year that followed. He carried on the tradition of giving flowers to ensure chance.
- In France, presenting Lily of the Valley signifies luck.
- In Serbia, Lily of the Valley flowers are picked on Saint. George’s feast day and many people decorate their houses with flowers to bring good fortune and prosperity.
- It is referenced many times in the bible and connected to Christ’s second coming.
- Thomas Jefferson recorded the flower in a list of tough perennials that grew in the Monticello home.
- Due to its sweet aroma, the sweet scent of the Lily of the Valley is a popular wedding bouquet. In Holland, newlyweds are famous for planting lilies of the valley in their gardens to bring luck to their wedding. The flowers were also a part of the bouquets for marriages presented to Princess Diana and Kate Middleton.
- It is said that in Helston, England, the flower is worn in the Furry Dance, a long-running celebration held every year on the 8th of May.
- Lily-of-the Valley is the flower of national significance in Finland.
Lily of the Valley in the Garden
Lilies of the Valley are ideal for garden beds that are shaded, as well as in rock gardens, as well as woodland gardens. The perennial flowers appear in May and are in bloom for between 2 and four weeks. It’s an ideal ground cover to shade areas with lush, moist soil, but it can spread rapidly if planted in the right conditions. It’s possible to be considered an invasive plant in certain regions, so check the local laws before planting. The plants can grow to 6-12 inches in height and have two to three leaves and flowers that rise from the middle of the leaf cluster.
Secondary May Birth Flowers: Hawthorns
It is a member of the species of Crataegus Hawthorn, part of the Rosaceae (rose) family that also includes a variety of edible crops like cherries, apples, and pears. The genus name comes from its Greek term kratos, which means strength’ due to the immense power of the wood, and the word akis, which means sharp, about the thorns found in many species. “Hawthorn” can be found in the Old English words hagathorn and haga, meaning “hedge.” Alongside North America, hawthorns can be found throughout Europe as well as Asia. There are a variety of hawthorns. They’re tiny, dense trees or shrubs that grow as high as 30 feet.
Hawthorn Meanings and Symbolism
- Hawthorns have been for a long time considered to be a symbol of optimism. Another reason is its ability to signal the beginning of different worlds and the solid link to fairy tales.
- The ancient Greeks were believed to have used branches for wedding ceremonies, and in Celtic folklore, Hawthorns were thought to heal a broken heart.
- According to Serbian folklore, there was a time when it was considered that stakes fashioned of hawthorns could slay vampires.
- Hawthorns have been associated with the fertility symbol of the pagan gods.
- There was a time when it was believed that bringing a bloom of hawthorn inside could result in sickness and, eventually, death. In the medieval era, the scent of the blossoms was thought to be associated in the case of the great Plague.
- Many believe that the bloom of a hawthorn signified the moment of transition from spring to the summer season.
Hawthorn in History
- The significance of the hawthorn to May Day is indisputable. It is customary to mark the celebration with flowers Hawthorn branches, notably in the shape of May Day garlands.
- In 1923, the white hawthorn flower was designated as the flower of the state of Missouri.
- Hawthorn has been used for medicinal reasons for a long time and to treat blood and heart illnesses, chest discomfort, blood pressure issues, and high cholesterol. Most of its benefits are found in the pigments of its fruits.
- The leaves and fruits of hawthorn are both edible. If picked early leaves, they can be used to make salads. Fruit can be consumed by itself or used to make jelly or wine.
- The shrike, a bird species, will imprint its (already dead) prey on the hawthorn’s thorn to allow the bird to consume more easily.
Hawthorn in the Garden
The mature hawthorn’s bark is gray and smooth. The twigs are thin, and the thorns can grow up to 3 inches long. Small pink or white flowers with five petals bloom in a cluster in the latter part of spring. Once the flowers arrive and go, tiny pome fruit appears, initially in yellow, then turning red when it matures in autumn. The leaves are simple, typically with a toothed or lobed shape.
Hawthorns can be grown under full sunlight or shade. They do best in soil that is well-drained and moist. For the best fruit production, it is recommended to have full sun. The fruit is a primary winter food source for birds, and the hawthorns with thorns offer nesting sites that are safe from predators.
May’s birth flowers, Lily of the Valley and Hawthorn encapsulate the essence of this vibrant month. With its delicate white bells, Lily of the Valley symbolizes purity and sweetness intertwined with myths and history. On the other hand, Hawthorn is a harbinger of hope, its clusters of tiny blossoms marking the transition from spring to summer. Both these flowers hold rich symbolism and cultural significance, making them the perfect representations of May’s beauty and renewal. Plant them in your garden, and you’ll have nature’s celebration of life and optimism at your doorstep.
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