Common name: snowdrops (Convallaria keiskei) and Suzuran (in Japanese)  are native to Eurasia. There is a park called Takino Suzuran Park that is close by my grandparent’s house where we can go see the flowers in the spring. Here are a photo of suzuran already on sale at the florist this week. Click on this link to a much better closeup of the lovely flower and more on the flower, see below…

Suzuran (Lily of the Valley)

By LINDA INOKI

“What happened?” he asked.
Michiyo answered in her usual composed manner. “Thank you, I’ve had plenty. I drank some of that. It was so beautiful,” she said, looking back at the bowl with the lilies of the valley. Daisuke sat down without a word. He did not have the courage to find out whether she had drunk the water in the bowl for poetry’s sake or from physical necessity.

From “And Then” by Natsume Soseki (1867-1916),
translated by Norma Moore Field (Charles E. Tuttle)

What a poetic image: To drink water scented with lilies of the valley. Suzuran means “bell orchid,” named after the shape of the small, white flowers that appear in the same season as wild, green-and-white orchids. Botanically, however, suzuran belongs to the lily family, as you can quickly recognize from the shape of its leaves. The plant originated in the woodlands of Europe, where it is much appreciated for its perfume. The English name is very lyrical. It connotes whiteness, purity and quiet woodlands in spring. Traditionally, it was said that the delightful fragrance of these flowers enticed shy nightingales to leave their trees and seek mates in the glade. by Linda Inoki

The Japan Times: May 2, 2002
(C) All rights reserved

 

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