What is this please?

sara82lee(8a - SE Va)March 29, 2014

Someone gave me this a few years ago and told me they were daffodils. . . Foliage looked scrawny for daffodils to me and I could only see roots/no bulbs when I planted them, but I figured I could wait a year or two (or 3 as it turned out) for them to get to blooming size. Now they've bloomed and, surprise - not daffodils.

Does anyone know what they are? After three years, to see them bloom, I'm not sure if I like them . . .not sure if I don't . . .just not sure. The flowers are white with a greenish tinge and almost seem a bit translucent.

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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

One more picture.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:59PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

maybe drooping star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum nutans)?
I've never grown it but I'm with you... it leaves me kind of lukewarm and only reminds me of its more than weedy cousin the regular star of Bethlehem (or SOB for short).

Here is a link that might be useful: Ornithogalum nutans

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:26PM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

Thanks! That definitely seems to be it.

Blah. I'm disappointed. I waited 3 years for a half - weed to bloom. Maybe I'll keep it and move it to some out of the way place in the backyard. It's pretty enough not to toss I suppose, but surely not pretty enough to take up bed space in the front of the house. At least it doesn't sound invasive like the "SOB" cousin (haha).

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:09PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

their value.. up here in the great white north ... the regular one.. as i didnt know there was a droopy one ...

is that they bloom with just after the spring ephemerals ... before the bigger bulbs bloom.. tulip and large Hyacinth ...

so they do fill a niche ....

and they do brown out and disappear rather fast.. as the heat rises ...


    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:06AM
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As quickly as you can, destroy all plants and small bulbs you will find. Watch and dig until you can't see any more come up. This is the worst plant to eradicate there is, nothing will kill them and they will eventually take over your whole yard. This is not an April fools joke, I mean it. I planted a few bulbs my neighbor gave me several years ago. They grow like grass in my flower beds, I wish I could do pics on here, I could show you what I mean. Every year I dig out huge bags of them. If you could invent something that would kill them, you could make a fortune.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 10:02AM
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Maybe Ornithogalum umbellatum (the more common one). Doesn't have a green stripe down the petals like O. nutans.

Must be the growing conditions.
Had it in the garden over ten years.
It's hardy (e.g. poisonous), but it's not been an invasive spreader like Chionodoxa.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:15AM
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sara82lee(8a - SE Va)

I agreed Sunny - if it's invasive it hasn't shown any sign of it in the past three years. Seems like umbellatum is the one that's invasive. Still, I'll keep an eye on it to make sure.

What do you mean by poisonous?

They do disappear fast like Ken said, faster than other spring foliage.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 9:19PM
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As you likely know, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, crocuses, etc, are all poisonous to some/varying degree to humans and pets. For instance, autumn crocuses (any part ingested) are much more poisonous/toxic than regular spring crocuses.

Ornithogalum umbellatum is toxic to humans, livestock and pets. It has been used herbally, in the past, and some homeopaths use it now. Because of it's toxicity, however, it must only be used with care.

What's toxic to one species doesn't have to be toxic to another. The spreaders (some, invasively) Chionodoxa luciliae, Puschkinia labanotica, Scilla sibirica and Ornithogalum umbellatum, are all listed as having toxic parts. I'm assuming that the bulbs of all are also toxic/poisonous to voles, since the voles have always avoided them in our garden. I also think that the bulbs of Chionodoxa 'Giant Pink' and the daffodils have never been eaten by the voles.

On the other hand, spring crocuses can't be toxic to our voles, since generations have consumed countless crocus bulbs. Even if they are minimally toxic to the voles, then clearly hungry voles are willing to ignore a bit of discomfort!

I've read that about 40% of all perennials are toxic to some degree. Monkshood is obviously one to be extremely cautious with. I only learned last year, that the pollen from a lily (as in a cat brushing up against an easter lily on a table and licking the pollen off) can give the cat a painful death (kidneys) within one week.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:16PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Sunny borders, is autumn crocus really toxic. I've avoided ordering any because I have so many voles. But I do have lots of Colchicums, sometimes called autumn crocus though they are not, and they are indeed very poisonous.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 6:15AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

lacyvail - I was wondering if Sunny borders was confusing Colchicums with true Autumn crocuses too. They are often (miscalled) crocuses but are not in the same genus. And they are very poisonous, as you say.

BTW, the OP's plant is O nutans, not umbellatum.
Not all Ornithogalums are poisonous. One, O pyrenaicum, is a foraged food in some areas of the UK, eaten like Asparagus. It used to be sold in markets in the spring.

This post was edited by floral_uk on Wed, Apr 2, 14 at 13:48

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:39PM
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"Autumn crocus", general usage here, is taken to refer to Colchicum autumnale.

The genus Crocus (crocuses, hence you can say "true crocuses") belongs in the family Iridaceae (irises). A number of the Crocus species and selections are fall flowering.

The genus Colchicum belongs in the family Colchicaceae. The various common/trivial names, autumn crocus, meadow saffron, naked lady, refer to the genus Colchicum itself and to many of the species it contains.

This is an argument in favour of using correct botanical nomenclature rather than "common" names.

Laceyvail, as above, the fall blooming members of the Genus Crocus don't contain the very toxic colchicine.

It is O. nutans. I should have said the green stripe is on the back. It's the one we have and the voles don't eat it.

This post was edited by SunnyBorders on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 9:37

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:04PM
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