Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Guest Post: Lily of The Valley by: Jim and Joyce Lavene

Lily of the Valley

The lily of the valley plant is tiny, delicate, and lovely, yet we chose to use it as a poison plant in our new novel, Lethal Lily. Despite its beauty, lily of the valley can be deadly.
May claims the right to be the home of this little flower. The plant signifies happiness, purity, and renewal. It is frequently used in bridal bouquets. The meaning in the language of flowers is “you complete me’. The plant has always been prized as a medicinal for heart problems. As in the case of most poisonous plants, what can make you healthy can also be lethal in the wrong doses.
Various parts of the world claim this pretty flower. It was first cultivated in 1420, and is the national flower for Finland. It is also seen in the Norwegian coat of arms. In France, it is traditional to give small bouquets of lily of the valley on May Day to wish loved ones good luck.
An ancient myth from England claims the lilies came from an epic battle between a saint and a dragon. Where the saint’s blood was spilled, lilies of the valley sprang up from the earth.
How toxic is the pretty lily of the valley?
It is extremely poisonous. The poison works on the heart and nervous system causing alterations in cardiac rhythm, and possible death. Blurry vision, diarrhea, vomiting, and disorientation can accompany lesser doses. 
The plant is widespread in the wild across much of the world, and is a popular garden plant – easy to grow and so sweet to the senses.  

You might have the plant growing in your yard right now! Definitely not something you want to eat!

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