Herb: Star Of Bethlehem

Latin name: Ornithogalum umbellatum

Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Medicinal use of Star Of Bethlehem:

A homeopathic remedy is made from the bulbs. It is useful in the treatment of certain forms of cancer. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are "After effect of shock, mental or physical". It is also one of the five ingredients in the "Rescue remedy".

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Grassy places in eastern England.

Edible parts of Star Of Bethlehem:

Bulb - raw or cooked. The bulbs can be dried and ground into a powder. Whilst the bulbs are palatable and wholesome according to some reports, some caution is advised. See the notes above on toxicity. Flowers - baked in bread.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow the seed thinly and leave the seedlings undisturbed in the pots for their first dormancy, but apply liquid feed at intervals, especially in their second year of growth. Divide the bulbs at the end of their second year of growth, putting 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for one more year and them plant them out into their permanent positions whilst they are dormant. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in early spring. Division of offsets in September/October. The larger bulbs can be replanted immediately into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on for a year before planting them out when dormant in late summer.

Cultivation of Star Of Bethlehem:

Grassy places in eastern England.

Known hazards of Ornithogalum umbellatum:

Skin contact with the bulb can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. The bulb contains alkaloids and is poisonous. Another report says that the bulb is poisonous to grazing animals.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.