Thursday, May 21, 2009

Convallaria majalis: flowers

Warning: this plant is invasive in Toronto. [Photo: Convallaria majalis flowers.]Convallaria majalis, known in English as "lily-of-the-valley" and in French as muguet de mai is a perennial native to Eurasia. Its attractive scented white flowers which are easy to grow in somewhat difficult conditions, for example as a ground cover in shady locations, have made it a popular garden plant. Unfortunately, in Toronto it is an invasive species; SER Ontario ranks it as Category 3: "moderately invasive but can become locally dominant when the proper conditions exist" in their Invasive Exotic Species Ranking for Southern Ontario.

[Photo: Convallaria majalis invading High Park forest.]Here is a large colony (about 2-3 metres across) of Convallaria growing in the middle of the forest at High Park. I don't know if this colony got its start by an uninformed human deliberately planting it here, or if it was introduced by nonhuman means such as birds. Once the first plant grows, it spreads by rhizomes to form large colonies.

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