Lily of the valley

Photo courtesy of Mila Young/​Unsplash

For a fragile flower no more than eight inches tall, Lily of the Valley is a poetic — and surprisingly potent — plant. While the flower blooms in delicate clusters of small bell-shaped bulbs, its scent packs a heavy punch. 

Even floral experts agree. Lily of the Valley is good for luck. The scent is so special and heady and immediately makes me think of spring,” says florist Taylor Patterson, founder of Fox Fodder Farm in New York City.

While its scent may seem sweet — delivering the uplifting, fresh notes of a flower in bloom — in plant form, Lily of the Valley is poisonous and should not be ingested by humans or animals (smelling it is totally safe!). But besides its toxicity, there’s many more reasons to love this perennial flower. Here are seven things you may not know about the iconic plant.

It’s Lucky

A favorite of brides (Queen Victoria, Princess Astrid of Sweden, Grace Kelly, and Kate Middleton all incorporated the flower into their bouquets), this delicate bell-shaped blossom is said to bring good luck in love.

It’s Ceremonial

Known as the May Lily, it’s a true expression of spring, often used in religious ceremonies and celebrations for its purity and sweet perfume. On May Day in France, named La Fête du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day), bunches of the petite buds are sold on the street and worn in lapels.

It’s a Finnish Symbol

In 1967 it became Finland’s national flower, chosen to represent the attractiveness and sweetness of the Finns.

It’s 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. 

It’s Romantic

Legend has it that Lily of the Valley’s strong fragrance lures the nightingale to find his mate. It’s also been linked to increased fertility in humans (Opens in a new window), due to a component of its scent known as Borgeonal, which allegedly alters the calcium balance of (and therefore attracts) human sperm.

It’s Related to Asparagus

Despite its name, Lily of the Valley is technically not a lily. Scientifically part of the asparagus family, Asparagaceae, meaning its leaves are reduced to small clusters on one side of the stalk, and the green stems act as the primary structure of the plant.

Its Healing Qualities are Powerful

During WWI it was used to treat soldiers exposed to poison gas, and its also a treatment for heart disorders, UTIs, epilepsy, kidney stones and burns. 

Hand holding Lily of the valley deodorant stick with leaves in the background

Photo courtesy of Schmidt’s Naturals


Lily of the Valley is known to symbolize happiness and hope, and is one of Dr. Jane Goodall’s favorite floral aromas. We partnered with the Jane Goodall Institute to bring you Lily of the Valley*, a special edition natural deodorant scent inspired by the positive message Dr. Goodall has carried throughout her life’s work. To learn more about the Jane Goodall Institute, visit (Opens in a new window).

Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.

*Program begins 8/28/18 and ends 12/31/19. For each purchase of (i) Schmidt’s Naturals Lily of the Valley Natural Deodorant, or (ii) Schmidt’s Naturals Lily of the Valley Natural Deodorant Sensitive Skin Formula, Schmidt’s will donate 5% of your purchase price (excluding shipping) to The Jane Goodall Institute. Void where prohibited. Complete donation terms available at Offered by Conopco, Inc. d/​b/​a/​Unilever. Information concerning The Jane Goodall Institute, including financial, licensing or charitable purpose may be obtained, without cost, by visiting (Opens in a new window).