Lily of the valley and its secret

Tender bells so fragrant. The thrush is a silent flower for perfumers who has yet much to tell us! It plunges us into our childhood by its smell that we recognize among a thousand. Timidly the lily of the valley flowers look down but assert themselves fully by sharing with us their scent.

Lily of the Valley, its history and myths

The birth of lily of the valley is the source of inspiration for beautiful stories:

  • a carpet of white flowers whose scent is intoxicating. This is the gift given by Apollo, the God of Arts and Poetry in Greek mythology, to his nine barefoot nymphs. Is it to protect their feet by their softness or to increase their creativity by their perfume, we hardly know it but the nickname of lily of the valley is all found: Gazon de Parnasse.
  • Hermit of the forest, Saint Leonard had to face a dragon. During his fight, he lost a few drops of blood that turned into discrete little white bells on reaching the ground. Legend has it that by triumphing over the dragon, St. Leonard gave birth to lily of the valley, which will bring luck.


Our lily of the valleys fuels the desires of the middle ages. At this time, it was a tradition to get married in May. The future husband offered his beloved a bouquet of lily of the valley that hangd in front of his door, a symbol of purity. Today, the wedding of lily of the valley represents 13 years of mariage.

In 1560, Charles IX, during a visit in the Drôme by the knight Louis de Girard de Maisonforte, was offered a lily of the valley. He was crowned king the following year. The king touched by this gesture decided to offer, in May, some lily of the valley to mark the end of the harshness of winter, the arrival of good weather and bring happiness.


Lily of the valley’s reputation as a lucky charm made it to be the favorite flower of Christian Dior. The superstitious couturier used to sew a sprig of lily of the valley in the hem of some of his creations. A strand of lily of the valley often accompanied him in his pocket. He went so far as to dedicate to it an entire collection in 1954 and a perfume Diorissimo in 1956 created by Edmond Roudnitska.


Lily of the Valley and its perfumes

The odorous molecules of lily of the valley are so fragile that they are destroyed when we seek to obtain them. Perfumers reproduce its smell through synthetic molecules.

The first perfumes that stage these small bells are Muguet des bois de Coty, Lily of the Happiness of Caron and Diorissimo. (aucune idée comment traduire ça)

And more recently, Anaïs Anaïs de Cacharel contains lily notes in addition to the other flowers that compose it, Lily of the valley of Penhaligon, Pleasures of Estée Lauder…


Therapeutic thrush

The lily is a plant that can be toxic. It is not recommended to use it. It’s active ingredients are used as antispasmodic, emetic or even cardiotonic.


Identity card of lily of the valley

Proper name : Convallaria majalis

Origin :  Northern Hemisphere

Family : Liliaceae

Spices : Tracheobionta

Species used in perfumery: None

Olfactory description: white, soft, transparent, green, sweet, musky flower

Flowering : April to early June

Dimensions : about 20 cm high

Anaïs Fournial

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