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Ornithogalum umbellatum
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

common star of Bethlehem

O. umbellatum is a bulbous perennial, often spreading rapidly by offsets, with linear leaves each with a white mid-vein, and umbel-like racemes of star-shaped white flowers, green on the outside, in early summer

Other common names
dove's dung
eleven o'clock lady
see moreJack-go-to-bed-at-noon
nap at noon
sleepy Dick
summer snowflake
ten o'clock lady

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1–2 years
Ultimate spread
0–0.1 metre
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring
Summer Green White Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Asparagaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested, and the sap may irritate skin. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Ornithogalum are bulbous perennials with linear or strap-shaped basal leaves and racemes, sometimes contracted, of star-shaped or cup-shaped, white, yellow or orange flowers

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe Med.

How to grow

Cultivation

Plant bulbs in autumn 10cm (4in) deep in well-drained soil in full sun; tolerant of partial shade. Ideal for naturalising but may become invasive

Propagation

Propagate by seed in containers in a cold frame in autumn or spring. For bulb propagation remove offsets when dormant

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Coastal
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

No pruning required

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

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