A member of the Hyacinth family, Ornithogalum (Star of Bethlehem) are bulbous perennials grown for their clusters of typically star-shaped, white flowers in spring or summer, depending on the species. They quickly form large clumps of grassy or strap-like leaves.
- Ornithogalum include over 200 species native to Europe, western Asia and Africa, in particular South Africa. Most of the European species tolerate moderate frosts, whereas the South African species are frost tender and may need to be lifted for winter.
- They grow up to 4-24 in. tall (10-60 cm).
- They flower best in full sun to partial shade in light well-drained soil.
- They usually are great naturalizers and gleefully multiply to quickly form small colonies. A few species are aggressive spreaders such as Ornithogalum umbellatum.
- Easy to grow, durable and long-lived, they are trouble-free, and deer and rabbits seldom eat them.
- Perfect for the early summer garden, they are beautiful garden plants and deserve a spot in borders, open woodlands, rockeries or large containers. They also make outstanding cut flowers, lasting 1-3 weeks in a vase.
- All parts of these plants may cause severe discomfort if ingested, and the sap may irritate skin.