Scientific Name: Ornithogalum umbellatum

Common Name: sleepydick

Other Common Names: star of bethlehem, Pyrenees star of Bethlehem

Habit: Star-of-Bethlehem thrive in average, medium wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. They have a wide range of soil tolerance. Plants reproduce by underground bulbs. Bulbs resprout in fall or spring, following summer kill of above-ground vegetation. Plants begin flowering by mid spring. Seeds are dispersed and the plant soon senesces by late spring or early summer.

Leaves: The leaves are shiny and dark green with a distinctive white midrib, rounded, smooth and do not have ligules, hair, or auricles. Leaves emerge from bulbs in the ground and resemble the leaves of onion or garlic. Leaves are hollow in cross section.

Identifying Characteristics: Native to Argentina and Uruguay, star-of-Bethlehem features grass-like foliage and solitary star-shaped flowers on 6 tall stems in early spring. Grapehyacinth is a similar weed to star-of-Bethlehem. It only lacks the mid-veins that run through the length of the leaves.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers are bright white to sometimes bluish. They form in branching clusters at the end of leafless stalks. Each flower has 6 petals that are lanceolate to oblong and have a green stripe on the underside of the petals. Flowers have a mild spicy fragrance, and the foliage when bruised emits an onion-like aroma.

Seed Fruit: Fruit are 3 lobed oval shaped with each oval containing several black egg shaped seeds that have a granular surface. Plants reproduces by seed and bulblets and requires a warm (70 to 80) - cool (32 to 35F) - warm (45 to 60) annual thermo periodic cycle.

Where Found: Star-of-Bethlehem is a weed of lawns, pastures and perennial row crops or gardens. Plants are especially problematic in warm-season turfgrass where they are unsightly green patches in an otherwise dormant turfgrass in early spring.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass-like

  • Plant family: Asparagaceae