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Star of Bethlehem

  • Common name: Star of Bethlehem
    Botanical name: Ornithogalum thyrsoides

    Star of BethlehemOrnithogalum thyrsoides (Star of Bethlehem) is a perennial herb, 20 to 50 cm tall, with round bulbs becoming dormant in the winter months. The plant has few (5-7) fleshy leaves that die back after flowering. Leaves range from 15 to 30 cm in length and 0.5 to 1.5 cm in width, are lance-shaped, smooth and soft-textured. Flower stalks are leafless and produce either a tight cluster of flowers (30-50) in a raceme or few flowers (5-20) in a loose corymb with flowers reaching almost the same height. The bowl-shaped flower is supported by a large green bract about the length of pedicels in open flowers. Flowers are white or creamy-white, usually with a brown or green centre that fades with age. They appear from October to February, are long lasting and also phototropic (bending in response to light). The capsule is spindle-shaped and thin walled, splitting longitudinally to expose black, shiny, variously shaped seeds.

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