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 Hunts where it is native and naturalised; elsewhere found in scattered locations of 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]