Ornithogalum umbellatum L.

Ornithogalum umbellatum plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - Bulbs. Aerial stem glabrous, 20-30cm tall, +/-4mm in diameter.

Leaves - Linear, grasslike, entire, basal, glabrous, +20cm long, 5-6mm broad, often involute, with a light green to whitish midrib.

Inflorescence - Raceme to +8cm tall. Pedicels glaucous, to +4cm long, 2mm in diameter. Single bracts at base of pedicels to 4cm long, scarious, 4mm broad at base, attenuate.

Flowers - Tepals 6, white above, white with green stripe below, glabrous, free, oblong to linear, 1.5cm long, 5mm broad. Stamens 6, erect, slightly exserted. Anthers flattened, 7mm long, 2mm broad at base, keeled, connivent around ovary. Anthers yellow, 2.5cm long, 1.2mm broad. Ovary superior, with 6 ridges, 3-locular, many seeded, placentation axile. Style 1, 2.5-3mm long, white, glabrous. Flowers highly nectariferous.

Ornithogalum umbellatum flower

Ornithogalum umbellatum tepalsAbaxial side of tepals.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Cultivated and escaped into open fields, waste ground, parks, open woods, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - Like many of the lilies, this plant is toxic. Apparently it is quick to spread and hence easy to propagate. The individual flowers don't last long, only a couple of days, but the plant produces many flowers and is certainly striking.

Photographs taken by Tom's Creek, NC., 4-20-03, and near Charrette Creek, Warren County, MO., 4-17-04.

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