Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Star of Bethlehem, Nap at Noon, Snowdrop, Eleven-o'clock Lady, Sleepydick
Ornithogalum umbellatum

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Family: Hyacinthaceae
Genus: Ornithogalum (or-ni-THOG-al-um) (Info)
Species: umbellatum (um-bell-AY-tum) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

42 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Bulbs

Height:
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

Spacing:
3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:
Herbaceous

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From bulbils

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 31 photos.
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Profile:

13 positives
11 neutrals
15 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative coriaceous On Jan 28, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

If you grow this in your garden and engage in plant trading, PLEASE warn the people you're trading with that they may receive some of this plant hitchhiking on the plants you're giving away. In many places this is a noxious weed, and in practice it is nearly ineradicable. It spreads like wildfire. It is highly resistant to most herbicides. Several states have declared it a noxious weed or invasive.

Many gardeners are surprised and disappointed when they realize that the flowers are open for only a few hours a day, during work hours.

Unlike many other naturalizing bulbs, when it invades lawns (which it inevitably does) its clumps of foliage leave unsightly holes in the lawn for the rest of the season when they go dormant. This is because its summer dormancy starts much later than with most small bulbs, too late for the grass to fill in.

It is also very poisonous. It is dangerous when it spreads into a vegetable garden, because the bulbs are easily mistaken for onions etc.

A good substitute for star-of-Bethlehem is Ornithogalum balansae. It looks very similar, blooms earlier in the spring, and is easily and cheaply obtained from the sellers of fall bulbs. Unlike star-of-Bethlehem, it isn't in the least invasive.

Positive Shirrush On Jan 1, 2013, Shirrush from Ramat Gan
Israel wrote:

Here in Israel, Ornithogalum umbellatum is a Winter wildflower of the Coastal Plain, and it can be encountered in February in both natural and ruderal situations. In Mediterranean Western Europe it is, however, listed as a perennial weed of vineyards and orchards. I have photographed it as far North as Bratislava, Slovakia, so I guess it is a rather successful species.

Positive papa1 On Dec 31, 2012, papa1 from Dearborn, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant showed up in my garden one year. I have no idea where it came from. I liked the plant and wished the blooms lasted longer. It would come up year after year and it never spread like I am reading in these comments. I had no idea it was a problem plant. Maybe because I am in zone 5?

Negative greenneck On Dec 31, 2012, greenneck from Paoli, IN wrote:

a nasty invasive; if you see it in the wild (you will) pull it up.

Neutral wolfwolfwolf On May 25, 2011, wolfwolfwolf from Maspeth, NY wrote:

I spent over ten years trying to get rid of this...I know why one website called it a "garden thug". It is. Now I've given up and simply enjoy the mid-May flowers. In fact, neighbors and passers-by ask for it's name when they see it in bloom. I tell them. And I warn them. When the foliage appears, it is a true sign of Spring. Then the flowers: Gorgeous -- very dependable. However, this bulb/corm is a royal pain. Enjoy it, but BEWARE. Or share the wealth and offer some to others. It can be the Ultimate Gardeners' Revenge.

Neutral weddingflowers On May 5, 2011, weddingflowers from Austin, TX wrote:

Are the comments here referring to the same Star of Bethlehem flower used frequently for weddings or in bridal bouquets? Here is an example of what I am speaking about: http://www.wholeblossoms.com/flowers/star-of-bethlehem-flowe...
I was doing a search on how to arrange this flower and came upon this post...however, now I'm a little worried since the comments are not all that positive. Please advise since I don't want to make the mistake of ordering Start of Bethlehem and end of having a flower that many of you despise. Thanks so much!

Negative naturesown On Sep 19, 2010, naturesown from Bolivar, NY wrote:

This little invader ranks second on my "Most Undesirable Plants" for the garden (Aegopodium podagraria, aka Bishop's Weed, is the first). I have no idea where they came from, and they just started appearing every year in ever-increasing numbers. I spent spring and early summer digging up every plant I could find, however, some of the bulbs were quite deep and I was surprised at the number of bulblets from one plant, so it remains to be seen if I got them all out of the iris beds.

Because it and so many other plants are invasive, I cannot understand why nurseries still sell them. The U.S. Forest Svc. lists it as a "potential threat to native vegetation." With a little research, many gardeners can find great native groundcovers instead of waging a losing battle with the likes of Star-of-Bethlehem & Bishop's Weed.

Negative joneski On Apr 3, 2010, joneski from Hastings, NE wrote:

On Apr 3, 2010, joneski from Hastings, NE wrote:
Very invasive. Pretty soon it will cover my neighborhood, not just my large yard. Last year I was obsessed (literally) with digging them up, drying them out and getting them as far away as possible. They apparantly became angry because they are now everywhere, in places they could not just spread to but had to jump concrete. They are growing in the bricks! Please tell me what to do, other than sell my house

Negative maresi77 On Apr 1, 2010, maresi77 from Santa Barbara, CA wrote:

Horrible plant!!! Can't get rid of it. It grows everywhere, in between brick paths, through other plants, into the lawn, it just takes over and grows so FAST! I did to try and get out the bulbs, but it breaks off into dozens of smaller bulbs that get left behind. So far, haven't found anything that kills it. Short of covering my whole lawn in plastic and hoping that kills it off, not sure what to do. STAY AWAY FROM IT!!! You'll be sorry if you plant this into any part of your yard. Trust me.

Negative MsMaati On May 25, 2009, MsMaati from Newburgh, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Terrible, invasive. Goes everywhere. Each year I try to get rid of it. It takes forever to bloom and the green plant is tough and slimy. Makes a real mess when you first mow in the spring. I grows over the regular grass and smothers it out so after it dies back you have big dead spots in the lawn.

Neutral happyNdirt On Mar 29, 2009, happyNdirt from Summertown, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Many years ago, a neighbor planted some of this among her flowers. Over the many years since she moved away, it has spread into all of the neighboring yards, including mine. We don't have any animals around, and just keep mowing over it, knowing that it will probably come up thicker, next year. It drives my retired next-door-neighbor to have a reason to mow the yard every other sunny day in the spring!

Neutral flowermad On Nov 7, 2008, flowermad from bc
Canada wrote:

This plant has a really attractive flower that only opens when the sun shines so is not much of a contribution to the Pacific Northwest garden as those days are at a premium here. I dug it out of a vacant lot and simply love the flower but they only appear on mature bulbs(I am experimenting to find out how big the bulb must be to flower) As pointed out the plant produces copious amounts of bulblets which grow grass-like foliage in huge amounts and tend to overwhelm any flowers that DO appear.I have dug up most of the Family groups in my bed and tossed the small bulbs, replanting the largest in hopes of a better display. Will keep you posted!

Neutral janaej On Jun 3, 2008, janaej from Cedarburg, WI wrote:

I just found this plant in my garden today. Actually, it's been there for a year now, but today I noticed the flowers on some of the plants. (there are probably 10 or so plants scattered on the mound I've built which surrounds my deck. After reading the warnings about this plant, I plan to dig them up. Although the flower was a pleasant surprise, it's not worth the trouble it seems to bring. I sure am glad I did a bit of investigation! Thank you all, for your comments. Quite helpful!

Negative kcviolet On May 18, 2008, kcviolet from Kansas City, MO wrote:

We found two of these in our backyard this year and thought they were so pretty. Then my black lab ate some and became horribly ill. I know it was these plants because I saw them again, if you know what I mean. This was not just eating grass sick this was go to the vet sick. It did this to a one hundred pound dog! I just dug up the two plants & burned them. There must have been fifty little bulbs on each one! I know I'll have to watch for them next year, too. Very pretty - but non-native & very poisonous!

Negative mogravely On May 13, 2008, mogravely from Columbia, MO wrote:

Highly invasive. Check on web for more info: all parts of plant said to be poisonous to people and livestock. Will spread everywhere through seeds and small bulbs. Difficult to eradicate and will contaminate your soil with bulbs so you can not share starts of other plants. Grows thick and shades out other plants including grass in spring and then dies back so summer annual weeds move in . Do not plant and begin to eradicate it if you have it as it invades pastures and native plantings with vigor.

Negative efbiosis On May 30, 2007, efbiosis from Oakland, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Grow at your own risk. One bulb will produce dozens of bulblets over the course of the growing season causing it to spread rampantly into turf and garden beds alike.

This is another plant that is resistant to topical herbicides due to the waxy coating of the leaves.

Positive jg48650 On May 24, 2007, jg48650 from Pinconning, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

These flowers are a very pleasant surprise in our yard. They provide green very early in spring when little else is green. The flowers bloom when little else is in bloom. They do well in both sun and more shaded areas. The foliage dies down quickly after blooming, and it doesn't seem to be invasive here.

Neutral CaptMicha On May 11, 2007, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I received this plant misidentified as something else in a trade. So I planted it believing it to be something else. I since have forgotten what it was supposed to be but I wasn't over thrilled when it became Ornithogalum umbellatum.

I'm not too concerned since I have it cornered in by a sidewalk with other potentially thuggish plants like Campanulas. If they spread, they're not going through concrete.

Not being very showy or having any other redeeming qualities, I'm going to get rid of it.

Negative warwick3md On Mar 16, 2007, warwick3md from Catonsville, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:

One of these beautiful little ones popped up in my yard a few years back- I loved it & actually, still enjoy it's delicate beauty but EXTREMELY invasive!!!!! Last year I literally spent hours trying to excavate the zillions of baby bulbs( it has spread throughout my yard, flowerbeds & even to my neighbors across the street!), to no avail! I give up! Soooo, if you don't want it, get rid of it fast!

Negative sladeofsky On Feb 2, 2007, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant can be pretty, (but nothing special) in tall grass areas or wildflower gardens. But it is too unkempt and rambunxious for most gardens. It can be very difficult to eradicate. The super-hardy bulbs multiply quickly and can grow from great depths. Pulling will not get the job done as the leaves generally break leaving the bulbs in place. In hard soils pulling is simply not an option. The soil must excavated and then be vigilant in removing young plants as the emerge over the years. Many gardeners mistake its winter growth for crocus.

Neutral ladygardener1 On May 16, 2006, ladygardener1 from Near Lake Erie, NW, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Can get in places where I really don't want it, Doesn't seem to be a problem, I just pull up and discard.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 16, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is such a beautiful, deceptively delicate looking flower. I suppose if you wanted to get rid of them, it would be a problem, but I cant see myself wanting to get rid of them. The foliage appears in mid winter, and it is always nice to see something emerging then. I have them growing in an area that most other plants want to die, and they seem to thrive on neglect. Another name for it is Dove's Dung . . . have no idea how that one came about. Blooms in May in my garden.

Positive cobalt123 On Aug 30, 2005, cobalt123 from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

This Star of Bethlehem grows in a variety that has a yellow and light green center, with stamens that are dark yellow and there is always one that is longer and white. I don't know what variety the one I have photographed it. It grows in nice bushy clumps, about 2' tall, in a partially shaded area in Tucson, Arizona. It obviously can stand up to heat waves. Today when I saw this plant and photographed it, it was 110 degrees.

Negative HerbMarsh On May 31, 2005, HerbMarsh from Deerfield, MA wrote:

I was initially pleased when this plant appeared in my garden--it is mentioned in "Lost in the Stars." But it has proven to be horrendously invasive, rapidly spreading in the course of a year or two from my garden to now taking over the lawn. I've tried Round-up at the normal concentration-- it knocked the foliage down, but next spring it was back, denser than ever! (The plant spreads by seeds, each fruiting plant probably produces 100,s of seeds, and by bulblets. Even a 1 cm bulb produces 1-2 bulblets, and a more mature, 1-2yr old bulb will 20-30 bulblets.) I've been digging them out, but that's a loser. Anybody have a solution??

Neutral wildflowerlady On May 27, 2005, wildflowerlady from Arcola, IL wrote:

This beautiful little plant cropped up in my garden voluntarily (with the help of squirrels, I imagine). I enjoy its welcoming blossoms in spring, but have found it to by highly irritating to skin. Handle with care and keep children away. It reproduces rapidly in zone 5B.

Neutral PurplePansies On May 23, 2005, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant planted itself in my garden (only a couple plants) and for a "weed" it is pretty cute and attractive albeit not astonishingly showy.... it could be a nice groundcover where a short flowering one was wanted.... flowers don't last long and or seem to close at night or on overcast days.... no fragrance..... Apparently easy to grow since it popped up in my garden with no help! Not very invasive though.... has not spread or become troublesome.....

Positive morgand9 On May 19, 2005, morgand9 from Aberystwyth
United Kingdom wrote:

This grew in my parents' yard when I was a child (1960s) and was not invasive but slowly spreading. This was between Seattle and Tacoma in what is now called Sea-Tac (inside the perimeter of the since-expanded Sea-Tac Airport). I spent years searching for it in the UK, where I now live, and finally found it this spring in a plant sale at Powis Castle, Newtown, Wales.

Positive nick89 On May 6, 2005, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

A native of Asia Minor that is naturalized in north Alabama. The leaves appear in the fall and produce flowers in mid spring. The plant is very invasive, especially in lawns. However this habit is useful in creating a large-scale winter and spring groundcover. A common local name is starflower.

Negative paani On Apr 14, 2005, paani from Saint Louis, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

updated 2011: as awful as everyone says. Forget getting rid of it, just keeping it under some control is difficult.

One year without going after it, and it has roared back.


Toxic for cats too.


Negative jtms_ On Mar 10, 2005, jtms_ from Thurmont, MD wrote:

This plant has become invasive in my pasture, where my
sheep graze. I have read that this plant is poisionous, and
am very concerned about how to eradicate and control it.
Will my sheep die if they eat it?

When I pull this plant up, it has hundreds of very tiny
bulbs, growing in clumps. I also found several on top of a post, where a squirrel had taken it. While this plant is
pretty, it is of grave concern, in places it is not wanted.




Neutral mlf58 On Jun 4, 2004, mlf58 from Alpha, MN wrote:

I like the overall appearance, but it seems that before it really has a chance to bloom, it's been flattened by the wind. Maybe it needs a little more sheltered area. We transplanted it from an overgrown flower bed on an old farm site and it has returned every year for 15 years, but hasn't spread significantly.

Positive vagardener On Jan 16, 2004, vagardener from Springfield, VA wrote:

This is a lovely little plant, that is a legacy of the previous owners of my house. It thrives in a small corner of a border garden and does not appear to be very invasive. It flowers late spring and is gone by early summer. The foliage remains green most of the summer. It is partial sun, but remains out of the strong Virginia sun until late in the day.

Positive Azalea On Jan 15, 2004, Azalea from Jonesboro, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

A nice surprise to see this perky little flower blooming in mid spring in my zone 7. The leaves start shooting up in January, pretty white star shape blooms follow soon. They do multiply freely by bulbs, but have not found them invasive. After blooming, the leaves die down until next spring.

Positive suncatcheracres On Nov 26, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I grew this pretty Spring flowering bulb under a Natchez crape myrtle tree in a sunny raised flower bed in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, for several years. It does spread rapidly, but the Dutch iris, crocus, daffodills and hyacinths managed to compete with it, and they all contributed some early Spring color after Atlanta's dreary grey and brown winters. It was an easy care plant that came and went with the season, and by late Spring was forgotten as my perennial purple drumstick ornamental onions, maroon hollyhocks, and annually planted nasturtiums took this particular bed.

I purchased my bulbs in 1998 in packages at a Walmart garden center in the Atlanta area, so I do not believe they are very hard to find. You just have to look during the gardening season that these bulbs are sold, which would probably be in the Fall for Spring flowering bulbs.

Positive CindyPierce On Nov 24, 2003, CindyPierce from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love the Star of Bethlehem flower. I accidentally obtained one bulb when I was given a bunch of other bulbs for our new house. My Star of Bethlehem has been a constant reminder to us of a very good friend of ours who has passed away and often commented about it. I have read that it is very invasive but mine is not.

Negative Greenknee On Feb 12, 2003, Greenknee from Chantilly, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I collected this from an old homesite I was redeveloping (source of many plants) - it was thriving, but blooming very little as shade had become dense. It is extremely invasive in places where it won't even bloom, deep shade.
Now I can't get rid of it. Beware! (this habit is reported by many garden authorities).

Neutral NYnative On May 28, 2002, NYnative wrote:

This plant is HIGHLY poisonous. Keep away from children and pets. My mother had it in our yard up North. It grew wild and was very hardy in the cold, damp climate of NY State. Very pretty, just becareful with it.

Positive Wvdaisy On May 8, 2002, Wvdaisy from Buffalo, WV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I got some of these bulbs from my mother, they were on the property when she purchased her house, the house is 100 years old and we don't know how long these bulbs have been there but they naturalized a hillside and are beautiful. They must have well-drained soil or they won't bloom. Her soil is clay. She now grows them on the hill around her pond amongst other perennials.

Lana

Positive Heloshka On May 6, 2002, Heloshka wrote:

I like this flower very much. We spent the weekend trailing Hocking Hills in Southern Central Ohio. What a hidden wonderland!! During the day and a half walk we only found one 'Star of Bethleham" blossom and it was near a bench we sat to eat lunch. I'd like to know where I can purchase some seeds for this beauty!!

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Anniston, Alabama
Jones, Alabama
Madison, Alabama
New Market, Alabama
Union Grove, Alabama
Sherwood, Arkansas
Santa Barbara, California
Ellendale, Delaware
New Port Richey, Florida
Anna, Illinois
Arcola, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
Newburgh, Indiana
Des Moines, Iowa
Dodge City, Kansas
Silver Lake, Kansas
Calvert City, Kentucky
Dry Ridge, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Brookeville, Maryland
Catonsville, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Laurel, Maryland
Thurmont, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Millbury, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Salem, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Dearborn, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan (2 reports)
Lansing, Michigan
Manchester, Michigan
Marshall, Michigan
Owosso, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Saginaw, Michigan
Menahga, Minnesota
Cole Camp, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Saint Charles, Missouri
Saint Joseph, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Hastings, Nebraska
Osmond, Nebraska
Hudson, New Hampshire
Jersey City, New Jersey
Bolivar, New York
Bolton Landing, New York
Croton On Hudson, New York
Himrod, New York
Maspeth, New York
Port Washington, New York
Ticonderoga, New York
Bath, North Carolina
Burlington, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Norwood, North Carolina
Wilsons Mills, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Glouster, Ohio
Jamestown, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sawyer, Oklahoma
Gold Hill, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Albion, Pennsylvania
Millersburg, Pennsylvania
Osceola, Pennsylvania
Tidioute, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Wakefield, Rhode Island
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Conway, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Nashville, Tennessee (2 reports)
Summertown, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Baytown, Texas
Dallas, Texas
East Burke, Vermont
West Dummerston, Vermont
Blacksburg, Virginia
Chesapeake, Virginia
Chester, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Springfield, Virginia
Belfair, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Cedarburg, Wisconsin
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Oconto, Wisconsin



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