Perennial herb with rhizomes 10 - 30 cm tall Leaves: two to three, 15 - 25 cm long, 2.5 - 13 cm wide, narrowly elliptic with a pointed tip, veined. Inflorescence: a loose cluster of nodding flowers (raceme) that arise along one side of the stalk. Flowers: on 7 - 11 mm long stalks, white, 6 - 9 mm long, rounded, bell-shaped, with six tepals. Tepals with a prominent white or green midrib. Stamens six. Fragrant. Fruit: a red, 6 - 12 mm wide berry. One to nine berries per plant.
Similar species: Convallaria majalis is a distinctive escape in the Chicago Region.
Flowering: May to early June
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Europe. Widely cultivated as an ornamental in gardens. An escape from cultivation that has been found in woods and in a bog.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Convallaria means "of the valley." Majalis means May.
Lvs narrowly elliptic, to 2 dm, acuminate; scape 1-2 dm; raceme loose, secund; bracts small, lanceolate; pedicels drooping; fls white, fragrant, 6-9 mm; fr (seldom produced) red, 1 cm; 2n=38. Widespread in n. Eurasia, commonly cult. and escaped near gardens; also in rich mt. woods of Va., W.Va., N.C., and Tenn. May. The S. Appalachian plants, seemingly native, are only loosely colonial and are said to differ in other minor ways from the more densely colonial cult. and casually escaped plants.
Sometimes treated as a distinct sp. under the name C. montana Raf. or C. majuscula Greene, they may reflect an early escape of a different phase of the sp. from cult.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.