Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Star of Bethlehem

My daughter brought me this lovely plant for Christmas. Its popular name is Star of Bethlehem. Officially, it is called Ornithogalum umbellatum and is member of the lily family.

I had never grown the plant and didn't really know anything about it but Dear Daughter said that the tag had indicated it would grow outside in zone 8. It really is quite a beautiful plant with its dainty, pristine white blossoms.

  Pretty! You can see why it would be called Star of Bethlehem.

I decided to do a bit of research on the plant, since I was unfamiliar with it, and what I found is that this introduced perennial can be a bit of a thug in the garden. In some areas, it is highly invasive and the unfortunate gardeners who planted it have spent years trying to rid their gardens of it! So, its sweet, innocent-looking flowers mask an aggressive nature. 

In addition to its invasiveness in the garden, the plant can be toxic to animals (including cats) if ingested. This is an important fact for me to know because I have two very inquisitive half-grown kittens in my house who are prone to chew on my plants. 

This is such an attractive plant and it was sweet of my daughter to bring it to me. I probably will plant it in my garden after it stops blooming, but now that I know more about its nature, I will definitely be careful where I plant it and if it shows a tendency to spread in places where it is not wanted, I will rip it out!

This just brings home to me the importance of knowing one's plants. I have plants in my garden now that I would not have planted if I had bothered to find out more about them before planting. If Star of Bethlehem proves to be a problem, I can't say that I wasn't forewarned. 



  1. HiYa Dorothy,

    The rain was a true gift from God for all of us Texans!

    But it made me loose my internet due to the water underground shorting out the DSL lines in my subdivision.. the modem looked like a blinking Christmas tree.. going yellow to red all weekend long ! !

    So a Belated Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    I had this beauty and kept it in a pot.. and put it away as I do all my prized bulbs.. guess what.. this bulb rotted away! Ditto for the other Ornithogalum - 'Orange Star' - it rotted as it was still alive and in bloom!

    Fickle fickle! - - - So don't worry about it being invasive!

    So glad to read your garden is alive with birds..

    Ditto here . . . lots of sparrows and chickadees and the WW Doves just arrived! They just made a huge mess as they swooped down too! - LOL~

    Happy New Year to you and yours!


  2. It's great to hear from you, Urs, and to hear about your experience with Star of Bethlehem. I'm going to plant it in the garden later so I hope it will not be invasive here.

    Happy New Year to you, too!

  3. A very nice plant, indeed. And even better that it was a gift from a loved one. Those are always even more special.

  4. That does indeed make it special, hollasboy, and that's why it's going into the garden. Invasiveness be damned!