Ornithogalum (Star-of-Bethlehem)

Ornithogalum nutans drooping star of bethlehem

The genus Ornithogalum belongs to the Scilloideae subfamily within the Asparagaceae family (formerly Hyacinthaceae) and contains approx. 210 members. Some of them are commonly known as Star-of-Bethlehem. They are distributed in Europe (eg Turkey), Asia (eg Iran) and Africa (eg South Africa).

There are orange, white and multicolored flowering species, which can be 10 to 80 centimeters high.

Some of these species are poisonous and some are used in homeopathy. This non-scientific pseudo-medicine is very popular here in Germany. Unfortunately. So shall Ornithogalum umbellatum be helpful against heartburn.

Honey bee on Ornithogalum umbellatum
A honey bee on Ornithogalum umbellatum. The Star-of-Bethlehem is a popular garden plant in Europe and North America.

Tip: other members of the Scilloideae subfamily you can find in my plant identification project: plants & more.

Turkisk stjaernloek Ornithogalum balansae
Ornithogalum balansae is native to Turkey and Caucasus. That’s why in Sweden it is known as Turkisk stjärnloek.