Lately, when hiking on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath, I’ve been seeing a lot of this plant. Star of Bethlehem belongs to the Lily Family and blooms in late spring or early summer. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is similar to wild garlic (though it does not have a garlic smell).
The English name “Star of Bethlehem” seems to date from the Middle Ages. The bulbs were sometimes brought home as souvenirs during pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
Its flowers are clustered at the tips of stems up to one foot tall. The three sepals and three petals form an attractive star, white on the upper surface, with green lines on the underside. It blooms from April to June; all parts of this plant are poisonous.
The blooms open during the early morning hours and close by noon. This characteristic habit gives it the nickname “Nap By Noon.” Its leaves are grasslike, very dark green, rolled inward with a white center vein.
Star of Bethlehem can be found in a variety of situations, including pastures, bottomland and upland forests, roadsides, suburban lawns and disturbed areas.