Liliaceae / Lily
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Lore: In addition to the valid medical uses mentioned below the European species is used to make a yellow dye and extracts of the flowers are used in cosmetics. It was though by herbal practitioners to help improve a failing memory, cure gout and made into an ointment for external sores.
Medical Uses: All parts of this plant are considered poisonous. This plant contains several active cardiac glycosides. It is considered similar to digitalis in action but milder. Some herbal guides suggest self medication to stimulate the heart but this is dangerous. The berries which may be attractive to small children can cause paralysis and severe respiratory distress.
Similar Species: European Lily of the Valley (Convallaria
majalis) is smaller and the flowers are higher in relation to the leaves. It is found in very dense stands where it has
escaped flower beds.
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Monocots / One Seed Leaf