Weed of the Month: Star-of-Bethlehem

Star-of-Bethlehem is a cool-season perennial of the lily family.

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Weed of the Month: Star of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem | Photo: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture
Common name: Star-of-Bethlehem
Scientific name: Ornithogalum umbellatum L.

Life Cycle: Perennial
Origin: Eurasia
Poisonous: Yes, all parts, especially bulbs and flowers

Star-of-Bethlehem is a cool-season perennial of the lily family. It is native to Europe, but it escaped cultivation. The weed now grows in the eastern half of the United States and portions of the Pacific Northwest. Star-of-Bethlehem grows well in pastures, landscape beds, gardens, fields, and roadsides.

Star-of-Bethlehem grows 10 to 20 inches tall in most pastures and is generally not noted until it reaches maturity. Leaves are narrow with a pale green-to-whitish stripe near the mid-rib. Flowers are showy, with six white petals sporting a noticeable greenish stripe down the middle of the back. Flowering occurs from April to May. The plant dies back to the bulb shortly after flowering. Seeds are small, and seedling plants are rare in North America. Reproduction occurs from bulbs, which grow in clumps and are subtended with a fibrous root system

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