A winter bulbous perennial plant native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia and Africa, the Star of Bethlehem is similar to the wild garlic. It belongs to the genus Ornithogalum of the Asparagaceae or lily family. Its scientific name is Ornithogalum umbellatum. The star of Bethlehem was first described in 1573 as a creamy white star-shaped flower.
The genus name Ornithogalum comes from the Greek words ‘ornis’ meaning bird and ‘gala’ meaning milk. The name translates to “Bird’s Milk Flower”, referring to the pristine white flowers of this plant. It comes from the name “Dove’s Dung” which was ascribed by the Greeks to the bulbs of this plant.
Growing to a height of about 20-30 cm., the Star of Bethlehem has multiple leaf-bearing bulbils. The bulbils will eventually separate and each bulb will have approximately six to ten leaves. The leaves are smooth, dark green, and can grow to a length of about 12 cm. The plant also has a long, bright green stem with an inflorescence at its end that can hold about 20 star-shaped flower petals. Each flower has five or six stamens and a single pistil.
Interestingly, the Star of Bethlehem flower is a hermaphrodite! It contains both male and female parts and bears fruits that resemble a capsule with many small black seeds. While it can be pollinated by bees and other insects, the hermaphrodite flower can also self-fertilize and bear fruit! The flowers bloom for several weeks in late spring and early summer. It is considered invasive in some areas as it spreads rapidly, posing a threat to other native flora.
The Star of Bethlehem can be planted during the fall season. It requires fertile and moist soil with semi-solid or full shade. It makes for an excellent addition to your garden as it grows and offsets the more vivid blooms of late spring. The Star of Bethlehem flower meaning is significantly symbolic. Drawing its name from Christian traditions surrounding the birth of Christ, the Star of Bethlehem flower meaning is symbolic of hope, joy, and happiness.
What do Star of Bethlehem Flowers Symbolize?
The Star of Bethlehem derives its name from the five pure white star-shaped petals of the flower. The flower is symbolic of Christian values and is closely tied to the birth of Jesus Christ. Legend has it that the Star of Bethlehem was created by God to guide the three wise men to the newborn baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
As the Star fulfilled its purpose, God thought that it was too stunning and beautiful to do away with. According to biblical legend, God crushed the Star into millions of tiny pieces and scattered them across the earth. This gave birth to the Star of Bethlehem flower that is widely known and cherished today.
Biblically, the Star of Bethlehem flower meaning is a symbol of hope, purity, happiness, honesty, and innocence.
Purity: The white flowers of the Star of Bethlehem represent purity. The color is symbolic of purity of intent and relationships, especially those of love. It is ideal for wedding ceremonies, baptisms, and other Christian ceremonies.
Hope: The Star of Bethlehem also represents hope for a better future. It is a sign of good things to come and better times. This beautiful flower is a perfect symbol of hope.
Forgiveness: The flower is also representative of forgiveness. It is given to some to indicate that you are offering the person a second chance and that you are ready to forgive them. The flower is a sign of forgiveness and acceptance.
Honesty and Innocence: The Star of Bethlehem is a sign of truth and honesty. It also represents innocence. It is symbolic of the desire for forgiveness and speaks the language of repentance. It is ideal for extending a peace offering to someone you may have hurt or seek forgiveness from.
The Star of Bethlehem flowers are also the floral symbol of the Epiphany, right after Christmas. They herald the birth of Jesus Christ and are used as decorations over the holidays.
Interestingly, the Star of Bethlehem is also known as the 11 o’clock lady! This is a reference to the time that the flowers bloom. It is believed that these flowers bloom not earlier or later than 11:00 A.M. in the day during the late spring and summer months. The buds blossom simultaneously creating a wondrous carpet of stars!
What do the Various Colors of the Star of Bethlehem Flower Mean?
While the white Star of Bethlehem is popular in Christian ceremonial decorations, the flower comes in a range of colors, each with its own symbolism and meaning. The different colors of the Star of Bethlehem flower meanings represent different emotions and values. They make for the perfect floral gift depending on the nature and purpose of the celebration.
White Star of Bethlehem Flower
The white Star of Bethlehem flower meaning is linked to purity and innocence. It is symbolic of people who are pure at heart and of love that is pure and true. The white flowers are also symbolic of innocence and convey apologies, especially when harm or wrong is done. They are the perfect flowers to present to someone when you choose to forgive them.
White Stars of Bethlehem flowers’ meanings of spirituality, hope, and purity draw closely from Christian traditions and values. These flowers are ideal for celebrating marriages, baptisms, and holy communions.
Orange Star of Bethlehem Flower
Orange is the color of joy, happiness, and optimism. The orange Star of Bethlehem flower meaning is associated with a sense of joy, happiness, and celebration. They are not as common as the white flowers but are excellent floral gifts to make people happy and optimistic.
Yellow Star of Bethlehem Flower
Yellow Star of Bethlehem flowers also represent joy, happiness, and positive energy. The bright yellow flowers are sure to bring joy to people and brighten up their lives. These flowers are also symbolic of hope and better times and can be presented to signal hope for a better tomorrow.
Red Star of Bethlehem Flower
A rare color, the red Star of Bethlehem is a bright, flamboyant, and passionate flower. It represents the struggle for freedom and liberty. It is symbolic of people’s passion, strength, and determination.
Blue Star of Bethlehem Flower
The blue Star of Bethlehem flower meaning is associated with trust and respect for another. It represents faith and honesty and is symbolic of relationships based on mutual trust and respect for each other.
Purple Star of Bethlehem Flower
Purple is the color of royalty. Purple Star of Bethlehem flowers are symbolic of royalty, exquisite beauty, and uniqueness. These flowers are stunning to behold and are reserved for those who have a special place in your heart.
Interesting Facts and Characteristics of the Star of Bethlehem Flower
The Star of Bethlehem flower is a close relative of the wild garlic! In fact, it is said to have healing effects that are stronger than those of the garlic plant. According to nutritionists, the Star of Bethlehem can cure many diseases and is of value in treating lichens, rheumatism, and gout. Valued as dry gold, the plant must be used fresh when used for medicinal purposes. It is also believed to clear the blood of toxins accumulated over the winter months.
The medicinal properties of the Star of Bethlehem are also used to treat the symptoms of cough and cold, strengthen heart muscles, and protect individuals from cardiac infarctions. It is also used to improve memory, treat high blood pressure, chronic diarrhea, intestinal parasites, and dizziness. It can improve appetite, relieve and calm gastrointestinal inflammation, relieve gas, and eliminate bile. It is beneficial for the liver, kidneys, bladder, and bones. It can alleviate the symptoms of osteoporosis, arthritis, and rheumatism.
The medicinal value of this plant is truly endless. Apart from its benefits for our internal organs, it is also great for our skin. The Star of Bethlehem can be used to treat eczema, dermatitis, open wounds, hematoma, and bruises. The juice of the leaves and bulbs can be used to treat the skins and is especially beneficial during the spring and summer months.
Best Time to Gift Someone Star of Bethlehem Flowers
As symbols of purity, hope, happiness, forgiveness, honesty, and innocence, the Star of Bethlehem speaks a plethora of languages. It can be gifted to people to celebrate life’s milestones, seek forgiveness, build trust or convey feelings of love and hope. The flowers are best gifted to people to convey messages from the heart.
The Star of Bethlehem tells the receiver that they are loved, adored, and cherished. The plant is also extremely resilient and hardy. The flowers make for excellent cut flowers in floral arrangements and can thrive for as many as two to four weeks.
The Star of Bethlehem is an excellent addition to bouquets and decorations for celebrating weddings, baptisms, and holy communions. They are also used during funerals to symbolize and celebrate a life well-lived.
Apart from its close association with Christianity, the flower is also used in secular ceremonies. It can also be presented to people to convey forgiveness, happiness, and optimism. The next time you think of celebrating someone on a special occasion, reach out for a bouquet of the Star of Bethlehem flowers and let them speak your language of love and hope.