May lily is a herbaceous perennial plant that usually has two heart-shaped leaves. Small white flowers in dense clusters form on the top part of the stem in May and June. The scientific name of the plant describes the May lily correctly: Maianthemum means ”blooms in May” and bifolium,”two leaves.”
The May lily is found in grove-like and moist heath forests, pastures and near brooks. Its range covers a wide area, from Europe to Japan.
The plant has been used in folk medicine as a remedy for heart ailments, liver problems and fever. Folk stories say that its roots have been used as a love potion. However, the whole plant is slightly toxic and eating even a few grams is dangerous.
May lily has specific nutrient needs. It does not prosper in low-nutritious heaths or lush groves. It is an indicator species of fresh, medium-nutrient groves. The species is happy to grow as a spruce companion, getting the shade it desires.
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