SPIKED STAR-OF-BETHLEHEM

BATH ASPARAGUS

Ornithogalum pyrenaicum

Asparagus Family [Asparagaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8cream
 
inner
inner8green
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ6
(3+3)
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
toxicity
toxicityZhigh
 
rarity
rarityZscarce
 

1st July 2016, nr Tilleys Wood, Monks Wood, Biddestone, Wilts Photo: © Sue Hill
Grows up to 6ocm tall in woods, scrub or on hedge-banks. Flower spike bears greater than 20 flowers.


1st July 2016, nr Tilleys Wood, Monks Wood, Biddestone, Wilts Photo: © Sue Hill
Unlike other Star-of-Bethlehem species, this one has a spike of flowers (which do not droop).


1st July 2016, nr Tilleys Wood, Monks Wood, Biddestone, Wilts Photo: © Sue Hill
The flowers have what look like 6 petals they are actually 3 outer tepals plus 3 inner tepals.


1st July 2016, nr Tilleys Wood, Monks Wood, Biddestone, Wilts Photo: © Sue Hill
Un-like Star-of-Betlehem and Garden Star-of-Bethlehem the tepals are striated and also splashed a pale green on the inner surface. Tepals 6-13mm long.


1st July 2016, nr Tilleys Wood, Monks Wood, Biddestone, Wilts Photo: © Sue Hill
Flowers angled outwards or upwards on stalks (petioles) which are longer than the bracts just beneath them. The 6 filaments bearing a cream-coloured anther each are wide, but narrow abruptly well before the anther.


1st July 2016, nr Tilleys Wood, Monks Wood, Biddestone, Wilts Photo: © Sue Hill
The tepals are long and almost linear, and pale-green and cream.


1st July 2016, nr Tilleys Wood, Monks Wood, Biddestone, Wilts Photo: © Sue Hill
A developing fruit in the centre complete with singe discoidal stigma at the end of a style. Tepals with 2 to 4 lengthways ridges.


1st July 2016, nr Tilleys Wood, Monks Wood, Biddestone, Wilts Photo: © Sue Hill
The tepals enveloping the flower before opening are also pale-green and cream on the outside. Anthers and ovary visible inside on the flower bud on the lower left.


Not to be semantically confused with : Star Thistle nor Star of Persia nor Star Sedge () [plants with similar names]

Many similarities to : Drooping Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans) but the flowers do not fully open but instead form open bell-shapes, are on shorter stalks and droop downwards (rather than face either outwards or are angled upwards)

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

Is related to : Garden Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) [a plant with similar name to another name for this plant: Bath Asparagus].

It is known to some as Bath Asparagus because it was once eaten as asparagus in Bath, Somerset. Like Star-of-Bethlehem it is probably poisonous despite it formerly being eaten as a vegetable like Asparagus, but then, Asparagus is cooked before eating, which may neutralise a lot of the toxins. It is still found in Bath and is localised in Southern England and northwards to Huntswhere it is native and naturalised elsewhere in scattered locations in England and Wales.


  Ornithogalum pyrenaicum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Asparagaceae  

Distribution
 family8Asparagus family8Asparagaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Ornithogalum
Ornithogalum
(Star-of-Bethlehems)

SPIKED STAR-OF-BETHLEHEM

BATH ASPARAGUS

Ornithogalum pyrenaicum

Asparagus Family [Asparagaceae]