Ornithogalum lanceolatum, Lance-leaved Star of Bethlehem,
Hebrew: נץ-חלב אזמלני, Arabic: صاصل سناني


Pale as a pensive cloister’d nun
The Bethlehem-star her face unveils,
When o’er the mountains peers the sun,
But shades it from the vesper gales.
Mrs.C.Smith
Charlotte Turner Smith (1749 - 1806), an English poet and novelist


Scientific name:  Ornithogalum lanceolatum Labill.
Common name:   Lance-leaved Star of Bethlehem
Hebrew name:   נץ-חלב אזמלני
Arabic name:  صاصل سناني
Family:  Liliaceae, שושניים

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Life form:  Geophyte
Leaves:  Rosette, entire
Flowers:  White
Flowering Period:  January, December
Habitat:   Batha, Phrygana
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon
Chorotype:   Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Ornithogalum lanceolatum, Lance-leaved Star of Bethlehem, נץ-חלב אזמלני


Derivation of the botanical name:
Ornithogalum, ornis ορνισ, ιϑοϛ , a bird, ornith pertaining to birds;galum, milk.
Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778) says, that the roots of this plant are the Dove's dung (seed pods), which was sold so dear during the siege of Samaria, (II Kings 6:25); "which interpretation appears highly probable from the obvious identity of the name ornithogalum (Bird's-milk), and which was applied to this plant by many of the ancient writers, as Dioscorides, Pliny, &c.,and from the circumstance that they are, when boiled, eaten at the present day by the poorer inhabitants of Palestine, where grows in abundance; whence its English name Star of Bethlehem."
lanceolatum, lancea, "lance, spear", atus,"with, shaped, made"; meaning lance shaped.
  • The standard author abbreviation Labill. is used to indicate Jacques Labillardière (1755 – 1834), a French naturalist noted for his descriptions of the flora of Australia.

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