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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 314–315. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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1. Convallaria majalis L.

Pl. 101 a, b; Map 408

Plants perennial, with rhizomes, lacking the odor of onion or garlic, glabrous. Aerial stems 10–20 cm long, unbranched, arched, with 2–3 bladeless sheaths below the foliage leaves. Foliage leaves 2–3, basal but appearing alternate because of the long sheaths, sessile, the leaf blades 10–20 cm long, elliptic, glabrous. Inflorescences at the tips of the aerial stems, racemes of 4–16 flowers, subtended by short, oblanceolate to linear bracts. Flowers with stalks 10–18 mm long, pendant, none of them replaced by bulblets. Perianth 6–9 mm long, bell-shaped, white, the sepals and petals fused into a tube nearly to the tips, the 6 short lobes spreading to recurved. Stamens 6, fused to the base of the perianth tube. Style 1, the stigma shallowly 3-lobed. Ovary superior, with 3 locules, each with 1–3 ovules. Fruits 8–10 mm long, globose, red capsules. 2n=19, 38. April–May.

Introduced, an uncommon and sporadic escape (native of Europe, a variant sometimes segregated as C. montana Raf. possibly native to the Appalachians, widely cultivated and escaped uncommonly in the eastern U.S.). Old homesites, roadsides, and disturbed areas around cemeteries.

Once established, this strongly colonial species can form rather extensive colonies. The flowers have a sweet fragrance. The plants contain cardiac glycosides and are poisonous.



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