Ornithogalum nutans is a perennial bulb and a member of the Asparagaceae family. It has distinctive green and grey striped bell-shaped perianth flowers of six tepals. It a native of the Balkan regions of Europe and Turkey.
Although it is an attractive ornamental plant and has even won the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in the United Kingdom, it is considered an invasive species in ten Eastern USA states; and it is especially a pest in the Maryland area where it has out-competed many native forest species.
As with any plant that you are planning to grow in the garden you should be aware of how it may affect the local environment; recommended alternatives that are native to the USA include Mertensia virginica (Virginia bluebells) and Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot).
Common names for Ornithogalum nutans include 'Drooping' or Nodding Star-of-Bethlehem, and it can reach a height of 50–60 cm (20–24 inches), and a width of 5 cm (2 inches).
Nodding Star-of-Bethlehem picture by Jakub Hlavaty.
Plants have succulent strap-like (linear) leaves that are up to 1.5 cm wide (0.6 inches) that are grass-like. Stems carry racemes of up to 15 Six-tepal flowers that are white with a central green stripe and about 3 cm (1.2 inches) wide. They bloom in mid to late spring. Plants then bear ovoid fruits.
Ornithogalum nutans photograph by Leonora Enking.
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