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Native to the areas of Southern Africa and Europe, the Star of Bethlehem – categorized under the ornithogalum genus – is a perennial plant that is part of the hyacinthaceae family. It has about 150 brother and sister species and grows on slender stalks with grass-like leaves. Named for its traditional star shape and 6 pure white petals that encircle a pistil and 5-6 stamens, this flower’s name is also associated with the star cited during the birth of Jesus. Because of this biblical association, the star of Bethlehem embraces a meaning of purity, hope and happiness. This meaning makes it a common flower used in weddings and also as a romantic gesture.
Growing this flower is considered moderately easy. It does not need much care, however it has a tendency to take over any lawn or garden it lives in and is very hard to get rid of. To maintain the star of Bethlehem, give it full sun and fertile soil that is moist but never muddy. Divide bulbs for easy propagation and plant them 5-6 inches apart. If this flower does in fact starts to overtake the lawn, the best way to stop it is to simply remove the flowers bulb from the ground. Trying to cut back the plant will not stop it from overtaking and it is normally resistant to herbicides, so full removal is the easiest route to take. If you have animals, like dogs or cats, it is good information to know that the star of Bethlehem contains alkaloids which can be poisonous to animals and livestock, so be cautious of where you are planting them.
Not only do these flowers have the power to overtake the area it is being grown in, but they are often called “the florists nightmare” because of their extensive shelf life after they have been cut. On a regular basis they last about 2 weeks, but at times they can last up to a month.