Saturday, November 12, 2005
This is my first Christmas post...sort of: the genus (not genius!...well actually, now I mention it...) of the title refers to the "star-of-Bethlehem", in botany it is a low, spring-blooming bulbous plant of the family Liliceae; there are numerous members of the genus, of which Ornithogalum umbellatum is the best known, the Lily family...my favourites...YES! - what's wrong with guys liking flowers! - they are native to the Mediterranean region but naturalized in North America and cultivated in gardens.
The plant has rather stiff*, grasslike leaves and a cluster of white star-shaped flowers marked on the back with green; it spreads easily but also tends to become weedy. Although the fresh plant is poisonous (as is often the case with things of beauty) the bulbs have been prepared and used as food in the Old World. The Christmas connection (the name star-of-Bethlehem) is because the flower has been associated with the star that guided the Wise Men to the manger. It is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.
* stiff eh?...despite this O. umbellatum is often known as Sleepydick!!!!
...you knew there had to be a reason I was posting this didn't you!
Posted by Span Ows at 11:41 am