The odor character of the flowers of lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis L.) is appreciated by almost everyone. An essential oil of the flowers is not commercially available. Therefore, perfumers must create compositions of this odor type based upon their memory of the natural product, using other essential oils and synthetic fragrance materials.
Lily of the valley belongs to the family of the Liliaceae, subfamily Asparagaideae, tribus Convallarieae. Two species are known of the genus Convallaria, Convallaria majalis L. (Europenan lily of the valley) and Convallaria keisukei Miq. (Japenese lily of the valey). The species Convallaria transcaucasia Utkin and Convallaria manshurica Kom. can be regarded as polymorphic forms of the first two speices.
It is almost a tradition in publications about the composition of the flower oil of lily of the valley to reveal one characteristic substance. In 1836 Herberger studied the essential oil of lily of the valley for the first time and isolated a crystalline substance, which was very odoriferous.