One of the most beautiful parts of Finland is when Spring finally arrives. Finland truly comes alive with so much lush green beauty and then dabs of color with all the beautiful flowers. One such flower is Lily of the Valley. Most people might be familiar with its sweet fragrance. It is a wonderful smell to come upon as you walk through the Finnish forest and there is a light breeze. I will have a different picture in my mind the next time a soak in a tub with Lily of the Valley bubble bath.
Lily of the Valley grows in the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere like Asia, Europe and the Southern Appalachian Mountains in the USA. The flowers look like little tiny white bells. They are very popular with weddings and can be quite expensive. The thing I did not realize was how toxic Lily of the Valley is. The entire plant and the red berries are very poisonous. Lily of the Valley has about 38 different cardiac glycosides. (Drugs used with treatment for congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia)
We happened across the plant when riding our bikes on a trail. We saw an older couple and the Finnish woman was picking something. We kept going and stopped to take a break and the couple caught up and I noticed she had a small bouquet of white flowers in her hand. I was guessing on what I could see that they were Lily of the Valley. My grandmother (Granny) would be so proud of me knowing my flowers. The next day I confirmed what the couple was picking because I noticed the same plant across the street from our house in the small forest. I was so excited! I started picking the flowers so that I could try and have that sweet fragrance fill our home. It was all of this that caused me to do a quick research – thank you Wikipedia for all your information- on Lily of the Valley. The girls were not pleased to hear how toxic the flowers are. I think they were a little upset that I let them pick them.
The other really cool thing we learned was that Lily of the Valley is Finland’s National Flower. Fun to see in the wild in our “front yard” and to be able to pick them and have them in our home.
Below are some pictures of us finding Lily of Valley in our forest.