May Birth Month Flowers: Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn

Flowers are more than just beautiful decorations; they hold profound meanings and symbolism, deeply rooted in various cultures and traditions. Birth month flowers, in particular, are intertwined with an individual’s birth month and possess unique attributes that reflect the characteristics of those born in that month. 

The heart of spring, brings with it two splendid May birth month flowers: Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn. This article aims to delve into these delightful flowers, exploring their historical, cultural, and symbolic significance, as well as practical tips for growing and enjoying them.

May Birth Flowers: Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn Overview

Flower Symbolism Color Growing Season Zodiac Signs
Lily-of-the-Valley Happiness, Purity White Spring Taurus, Gemini
Hawthorn Hope, Protection White, Pink Spring Taurus, Gemini

May Birth Month Flowers Symbolism

Symbolism in flowers, or floriography, is a practice that dates back centuries, linking flowers with various meanings and emotions. The symbolism of birth month flowers is particularly special as it resonates with the characteristics of individuals born in that month. May’s birth flowers, Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn, carry significant symbolism, each telling a unique story.


  • Happiness: Often given to bring joy to the recipient’s life.
  • Purity: Its pure white color symbolizes innocence and purity.
  • Return of Happiness: Historically used to symbolize the return of happiness or contentment.


  • Hope: Representing optimism for the future.
  • Protection: Historically planted near homes to ward off evil.
  • Fertility and Death: In Celtic traditions, it’s linked to both birth and the afterlife.

How to Use These Symbols

Understanding the symbolism of May’s birth flowers allows for more thoughtful gift-giving and personal connection to these plants.

  • Gifts: Choose Lily-of-the-Valley to wish someone happiness or Hawthorn to offer protection and hope.
  • Gardening: Plant these flowers in your garden as a personal symbol of their meanings.
  • Celebrations: Incorporate them into weddings or other significant events to add a layer of symbolism and tradition.

Historical and Mythological Significance of Lily-of-the-Valley

Lily-of-the-Valley in Mythology and Religion

  • Christian Legends: Believed to have sprung from the tears of the Virgin Mary during the crucifixion of Jesus, symbolizing purity and motherly love.
  • Greek Mythology: Associated with Apollo, the Lily-of-the-Valley was used to carpet his temple to protect his delicate feet.

Lily-of-the-Valley’s significance spans various cultures and eras. In Christianity, it’s often a symbol of humility and purity, connected to Virgin Mary. In Greek myths, it has associations with divine beauty and protection, linked to the god Apollo. This dainty flower also appears in Norse mythology as a symbol of new beginnings and rebirth.

Lily-of-the-Valley in Cultural Traditions

  • European Traditions: In parts of Europe, Lily-of-the-Valley is gifted on May 1st as a token of happiness and to welcome spring. Its sweet fragrance and delicate appearance are celebrated as signs of renewal.
  • Wedding Ceremonies: Many cultures incorporate Lily-of-the-Valley into wedding bouquets, symbolizing purity and the return of happiness.
  • Medicinal Use: Though highly toxic if consumed improperly, Lily-of-the-Valley has been used in traditional medicine for heart conditions.

Lily-of-the-Valley’s cultural roots run deep, especially in France, where it’s a symbol of spring and good fortune. It has also adorned the wedding bouquets of royal brides, including Princess Grace of Monaco and Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, symbolizing the purity and grace of the brides.

History and Folklore of Hawthorn

Hawthorn in Mythology and Religion

  • Celtic Traditions: Hawthorn has a sacred place in Celtic beliefs, considered a tree of protection and enchantment. Planting a Hawthorn near a house was believed to ward off evil.
  • Greek Mythology: Associated with marriage and fertility, linked to the goddess Hymen.
  • May Day Celebrations: In many European countries, Hawthorn flowers and branches are used in May Day festivities, symbolizing hope and the welcoming of spring.
  • Medicinal Use: Hawthorn has a long history in herbal medicine, particularly for heart health. Its berries, leaves, and flowers are used in various preparations.
  • Culinary Use: Hawthorn berries are often used in jams, jellies, and syrups, adding a unique flavor to culinary traditions.

Hawthorn is steeped in mysticism and folklore. In Celtic traditions, it was believed to ward off evil and was considered sacred. Cutting down a Hawthorn tree was considered bad luck. In ancient Greece, it was a symbol of hope and happiness in marriage.

Hawthorn in Cultural Traditions

  • Medieval Europe: Used to ward off witches and evil spirits.
  • Medicinal Uses: Utilized in herbal remedies for heart diseases, a practice that continues in modern herbal medicine.

The Hawthorn tree has been a symbol of protection and healing in various cultures. In Medieval Europe, it was planted near homes for protection against witches. Its medicinal properties have been recognized for centuries, particularly for heart ailments, and are still used in herbal medicine today.

Planting and Cultivation Guidelines for Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn

Lily-of-the-valley and hawthorn, the two delightful spring flowers for the month of May, require some specific conditions and care to thrive. Follow these tips to successfully grow these poetic blooms.


This sweetly scented flower prefers partial to full shade, making it an ideal understory plant for trees and shrubs. Choose a site with rich, humus-heavy soil that retains moisture but still drains well. Amend soil with compost or leaf mold if needed. Space plants 8-10 inches apart and plant the crowns 1 inch deep. Water regularly until established.

To encourage flowering, allow soils to dry between waterings. Remove faded blooms to neaten appearance. Divide congested clumps every 2-3 years in fall by gently prying apart sections with a garden fork. Apply an organic fertilizer or aged manure in early spring. Shelter plants with a winter mulch in cold regions. Propagate by division or stem cuttings.


Hawthorns are hardy spring-flowering trees well-suited to mixed borders, hedging, or specimen planting. They thrive in full sun to partial shade and tolerate most soil types, aside from wet or compacted soil. Space trees 15-20 feet apart for hedging. Dig a hole twice the width and depth of the root ball. Set the tree at the same level it was growing in the nursery container. Water deeply after planting.

Prune in late winter to shape and improve flowering and fruiting. Water regularly until established, then reduce to 1 inch of rainfall per week. Apply a balanced, organic fertilizer in early spring. Protect young trees from harsh winds. Propagate by seed or semi-hardwood cuttings in summer. Enjoy beautiful spring blossoms followed by haw fruits.

Flower Lily-of-the-Valley Hawthorn
Sun Exposure Partial to full shade Full sun to partial shade
Soil Rich, humus-heavy, moist but well-draining Tolerates most soils, not wet or compacted
Spacing 8-10 inches apart 15-20 feet apart for hedging
Watering Regularly until established Regularly until established, then reduce
Fertilizer Organic in early spring Balanced organic in early spring
Pruning Remove faded blooms Late winter for shape and flowering

May Birthday Flowers By Zodiac Sign

May is a unique month that falls under two Zodiac signs: Taurus (April 21 – May 20) and Gemini (May 21 – June 20). The birth flowers associated with May – Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn – correspondingly resonate with the characteristics of these Zodiac signs. Here’s how:

Taurus (April 21 – May 20)

  • Flower: Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn
  • Symbolism: Taurus individuals are known for their reliability, patience, and love for beauty. Lily-of-the-Valley, symbolizing purity and humility, and Hawthorn, symbolizing protection, align well with these traits.
  • Cultural Connection: Taurus’ earthy nature connects to the growth and blossoming of these flowers during the spring season.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

  • Flower: Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn
  • Symbolism: Gemini is characterized by adaptability, intelligence, and duality. The dual nature of May’s birth flowers, with Lily-of-the-Valley representing happiness and Hawthorn symbolizing hope, resonates with Gemini’s versatile personality.
  • Cultural Connection: The lively spirit of Gemini aligns with the vibrant celebrations of spring, where these flowers prominently feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find my birth flower?

You can find your birth flower based on the month you were born. For May, it’s Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn. You can read this article for complete list of birth month flowers.

Can I give birth flowers as gifts?

Yes! Birth flowers make thoughtful and personalized gifts, especially when the recipient’s birth month is known.


May birth month flowers, Lily-of-the-Valley and Hawthorn, embody a rich tapestry of symbolism, history, and cultural resonance, weaving together themes of purity, happiness, protection, and hope. Their significance extends beyond mere aesthetics, reaching into the realms of mythology, folklore, and even aligning with the astrological characteristics of Taurus and Gemini. These flowers connect us to the profound meanings and traditions that enhance appreciation for those born in May or anyone intrigued by the complex beauty of floriography.

If the harmony and symbolism of May’s birth flowers have piqued your interest, you might find joy in exploring the equally fascinating birth flowers of other months. Consider reading further on the April Birth Month Flowers to delve into the spring’s earlier blooms, or leap forward to the intriguing June Birth Month Flowers to discover what floral wonders await those born under the summer sun. Each month offers a unique blend of history, symbolism, and personal connection that is waiting to be unveiled.

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