Star-of-Bethlehems

Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem Common Star-of-Bethlehem Common Star-of-Bethlehem Common Star-of-Bethlehem

What are they?

A group of white-flowered plants in the asparagus family, emerging in spring from underground bulbs. The plants usually grow in showy clumps and are very eye-catching when in flower.

Where are they found?

Usually in grassy places on roadsides and similar site, but also spreading from original plantings in churchyards and other grassy places.

Identification

A useful feature of many members of the group is the green stripe on the back, or underside, of the white petals. The shape of the flower spike (upright or flat-topped) and the length of the flower bracts, relative to the flower stalks, is important for identification.



Common Star-of-Bethlehem      Ornithogalum umbellatum

Possibly native in sandy soils in parts of East Anglia, but more widespread throughout the region as an introduced species and spreading freely from small bulbils. Flowers April to June. Flowers brilliant white in flat-topped clusters. Grass-like leaves with a silver stripe down the centre, like those of crocus species, but with a hand lens, they show a mass of silvery spots across the width of the leaf. The status of this plant is complicated by their apparently being two subspecies - one possibly native, the other an introduction.

Common Star-of-Bethlehem Common Star-of-Bethlehem Common Star-of-Bethlehem Common Star-of-Bethlehem
Habit
Flower
Flower underside
Leaf tip


Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem      Ornithogalum nutans

Introduced and locally frequent on grassy roadsides and churchyards. Flowers April to June. Flowers dull white, nodding, in an upright spike. Grass-like leaves with a silver stripe down the centre, like those of crocus species, but with a hand lens, they show a mass of silvery spots across the width of the leaf.

Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaf section