Ornithogalum montanum, Mountain Star-of-Bethlehem,
Hebrew: נץ-חלב הררי, Arabic: صاصل جبلي

Scientific name:  Ornithogalum montanum Cyr.
Common name:  Mountain Star-of-Bethlehem
Hebrew name:  נץ-חלב הררי
Arabic name:  صاصل جبلي
Family:  Liliaceae, שושניים

Israel, Häufige Wildblumen, Bilder von Wildblumen
Location: Carmel, Muhraka

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

Ornithogalum montanum, Mountain Star-of-Bethlehem, נץ-חלב הררי

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."
Montanum, pertaining to the mountains.
The Hebrew name Netz-Halav, נץ-חלב, Hawk-milk is officially designated for the genus Ornitogalum, because the scientific name means bird milk, which corresponds to the meaning of the words hawk and milk. Netz, netza, the button in the plant from which the flower and fruit develop.
  • Bible resources: Genesis 40:10 "and in the vine were three branches; and as it was budding, its blossoms shot forth, and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes.

  • In the Mishnah, Tractate Sheviit, Chapter 7 Mishnah 2 (7.2): העולשין והכרישין והרגילה ונץ החלב, The lilacs and sharks and the usual milk hawk.
    • The standard author abbreviation Cirillo is used to indicate Domenico Cirillo (1739 – 1799), an Italian physician.
    Ornithogalum montanum is a Mediterranean species dwelling in arid and stony grassland, superficially similar to Ornithogalum umbellatum. It differs in the wide leaves, which lay to the ground, without any silver median stripe.