mayflower, in botany, name for several spring-blooming plants. In England the hawthorn is called mayflower, or may; in North America the name is used for the trailing arbutus, the hepatica, and an herb (Maianthemum canadense) of the family Liliaceae (lily family). The latter, a common wildflower of northern forests, bears a cluster of small white blossoms and has many local names, e.g., Canada mayflower and false lily-of-the-valley. It is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.
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