Ornithogalum, commonly known as Star of Bethlehem, is a genus of more than 150 species of bulbous perennials in the family Asparagaceae, native to Europe, Asia and southern Africa.
Ornithogalum blooms in spring or summer and features multiple star-shaped or cup-shaped blooms that rise on long, brilliant green stems above the semi-erect, grass-like foliage. These plants will grow well in light shade or full sun if they get enough water. Plant them in containers, borders, wild gardens, rock gardens or open woodlands, and they will surprise you with their amazing beauty and charm. Plus, they are one of the longest-lasting cut flowers around!
The botanical name is derived from the Greek words “ornithos” (“bird”) and “gala” (“milk”), in reference to the white color of the flowers.
The Greek phrase “bird’s milk” was also used to describe something amazing.
Many species within the genus share the common name “Star of Bethlehem”, though it is most often used for the Ornithogalum umbellatum. The common name refers to the star-shaped flowers of the plant.
Ornithogalum represents innocence, hope, trust and honesty.
It is also a symbol of the Jesus Christ Child.
Interesting facts about Ornithogalum:
Benefits and Uses
Because of their elegance and charm, these flowers are used in bouquets and other arrangements, but more important is the use of various species as ornamentals and cut flowers.
In some cultures the plant is used in Christian ceremonies, such as marriages, funerals, christenings and baptisms.
The flowers come in white, yellow and orange colors.
The plant can grow between 10 and 60 cm (4 inches to 2 ft) tall.
Ornithogalum prefers moist, but well-drained soil. You can grow it in any sandy or loamy soil.