Ornithogalum trichophyllum, Fine-Leaved Star-of-Bethlehem,
Hebrew: נץ-חלב דק-עלים, Arabic: صاصل صوفي الأوراق

Scientific name:  Ornithogalum trichophyllum Boiss. et Heldr.
Common name:  Fine-Leaved Star-of-Bethlehem
Hebrew name:  נץ-חלב דק-עלים
Arabic name:  صاصل صوفي الأوراق
Family:  Liliaceae, שושניים

I fiori di campo d'Israele

Life form:  Geophyte
Leaves:  Rosette, entire
Flowers:  White
Flowering Period:  January, February, December
Habitat:   Shrub-steppes
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts
Chorotype:  Irano-Turanian - Saharo-Arabian
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Ornithogalum trichophyllum, Fine-Leaved Star-of-Bethlehem, صاصل صوفي الأوراق ,נץ-חלב דק-עלים

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."
trichophyllum, thrix ϑριξ, τριχοϛ, hair, wool, bristle; phyllon φυλλον, leaf; foliage; hairy leaves.
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 Boiss. is used to indicate Pierre Edmond Boissier (1810 – 1885), a Swiss botanist, explorer and mathematician.
    • The standard author abbreviation Heldr. is used to indicate Theodor Heinrich Hermann von Heldreich (1822 – 1902), a German botanist.