An Introduction to Lily-of-the-Valley & Hawthorn: May Birth Flowers

Flowers are those beautiful creations of God that are lovely, beautiful, meaningful and most importantly – fit every occasion. People love to receive flowers on birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and special days. More so, similar to birthstones, there are birth flowers that are a representation of the month we’re born in. Each of them carries a special meaning too. People born in the month of May are showered with two extraordinary flowers, i.e. the Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn. In this writing piece, we’ve summarized everything that you need to know about these dainty May birth flowers. Scroll down to know more!

The Lily-of-the-Valley

Lilies Of The Valley - May birth flowers

Source: Pixabay

Though its name suggests otherwise, Lily-of-the-Valley is not actually a lily but a member of the asparagus family. It features tiny, bell-shaped, white and fragrant flowers that bloom aggressively when you provide the right growing conditions to them. Given its strong, sweet smell, it is widely popular as a wedding flower. These flowers symbolise sweetness, humility, purity and motherhood.

Since these blooms blossom abundantly in May, they are also referred to as May lilies often. Other than white, the Lily-of-the-Valley can also produce pink or purple blossoms.

History & Origin:
Lily Of The Valley, White Flowers

Source: Pixabay

The first Lily-of-the-Valley plant is known to be cultivated in the year 1420. King Charles IX was gifted this flower for good luck on May Day in the 1500s. Following that, he carried the tradition of gifting this flower as a sign of good luck which is followed to date.

In Serbia, this flower is bought on St. George’s Feast Day. People decorate their space with these flowers to usher in luck and prosperity.

The flower also finds its roots in the Bible numerous times. As per the legends, the lily of the valley flower is actually Eve’s tears which turned into flowers when she was expelled from the Garden of Eden. A different tale also says the flowers emerged from Mother Mary’s tears during Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.

Symbolism & Folklore:
  • In Holland, the newlyweds plant the Lily-of-the-Valley in their backyard to bring good luck into their marriage.
  • It is the national flower of Finland.
  • In England, this flower is worn during the Furry Dance, a centuries-old celebration.
  • The French people celebrate a special event called ‘Lily of the Valley Day’ or ‘La Fête du Muguet’ on the 1st of May every year.

The Hawthorn

Hawthorn, Flowering, Tree, Wet

Source: Pixabay

The secondary birth flower for May babies is the Hawthorn. It is the flowering shrub that is a member of the Rosaceae (rose) family. It carries a cluster of tiny red, white or pink flowers that looks too beautiful for words. Hawthorn flowers are a symbol of hope and supreme happiness. Also, there are hundreds of species of Hawthorn, some of which can grow up to 30 feet tall.

History & Origin:
Hawthorn, Biel, Spring, April, Cereal

Source: Pixabay

The name ‘hawthorn’ refers to the whole Crataegus genus of small trees and shrubs that belong to the Rose family. The term Crataegus is from Greek words, Kratos and Akis, meaning strength and sharp respectively. The name can also be traced back to the ancient word ‘Hagathorn’ whereas Haga means ‘Hedge’. It is said that the ancient Greeks used its branches at the time of wedding processions.

The flower has been used as medicine for years because of the medicinal value of the fruit pigments found in it. It is known to treat heart, blood diseases, chest pains, high cholesterol and even, blood pressure.

The white hawthorn flowers were recognised as Missouri’s state flower in 1923.

Symbolism & Folklore:
  • The fruit and leaves of Hawthorn are edible. Its leaves are typically consumed in salads, while its fruit can be eaten raw or consumed as jelly and wine.
  • The flower is also said to have an ability to mark the entrance to other worlds, with a strong connection to fairies.
  • Hawthorns were also believed to heal a broken heart in Celtic lore.
  • On May Day, it is customary to decorate any occasion or celebration with Hawthorn’s flowering branches, usually in the form of garlands.

When looking for a gift option for May born’s big day, giving something related to their birth flowers can certainly come in handy. Besides, these two flowers are perfect to convey love and affection. So, surprise May babies with these May birth flowers and communicate your deepest emotions and heartfelt feelings elegantly. Also, if you are unable to find them at your local florist, you can always buy these flowering plants online. There are tons of online plant shops out there that can assist you. Check them out!

About the author


A creative person by heart and presently working with FNP as a content curator, Anushka has 4+ years of experience in content writing, editing and marketing. She loves designing for her writing pieces and is skilled at writing a multitude of genres including narrative, fiction, poetry, fantasy and short story. When not working, she can be usually found watching anime or framing random story plots in her head.