Information on Star-of-Bethlehem

Common Name: Star-of-Bethlehem
Scientific Name: Ornithogalum umbellatum
Irish Name: Réalta bain na Beithile
Family Group: Asparagaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Star-of-Bethlehem is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

An extremely pretty perennial which shows its blooms from mid-April to June, Star-of-Bethlehem is well named. It bears umbel-like clusters of star-like, white 3cm wide flowers which have six tepals – that is, 3 petals and 3 sepals, all alike – on stems to about 40cm high. Each of the tepals has a bold green stripe on the reverse side. The lower flowers have stems which are long enough to bring them level with upper flowers. The leaves are narrow with white stripes down their centre and are all basal. This plant species tends to grow in grassland and light, dry soil. This is thought to be an introduction into gardens which has established itself in only a handful of spots in the wild. It belongs to the Asparagus or Asparagaceae family.

I first spotted this species growing in on a dry, grassy part of Abbeyleix Bog, County Laois when on a field-trip with the Wexford Naturalists’ Field Club in 2017. I photographed it at that time.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

This plant species was originally called Ornithogalum umbellatum, then it was re-named Ornithogalum angustifolium, and recently it was renamed Ornithogalum umbellatum ssp campestre in Edition 3 of the New Flora of the British Isles by Professor Clive Stace.