DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.
Behold, the star that shines among the verdurous landscapes of Spring. The eyes shall be gladdened when they espy the tiny visitor that frustrates gardeners, but THIS graceful sweetheart has hidden qualities. We are talking about the Star of Bethlehem or Nap-at-Noon ( Ornithogalum umbellatum). A gentle bulb which loved being here in the United States so much, it escaped private gardens and went wild. Why play a bit part when you can be your own star, right?
Some folks think the bulb on this is delicious, but they are brave of heart. As a matter of fact, they should make sure they have a sound heart. This plant can affect it.
The bulbs apparently are edible though they contain heart stimulants with a digitalis-like reaction. Another possibility is that it follows from an ancient belief that doves were of a single sex and produced milk to feed their young; thus bird’s milk meant “a wondrous thing.” – University of Arkansas System,Division of Agriculture | Agricultural Experiment Station
You will delight in seeing its six white petals that end in points like rays. A green stripe runs along their underside. A member of the lily family, it captivates the eye. Simple, yet elegant, it is also INVASIVE.
Let us be clear. DO NOT PLANT THIS PLANT IN THE WILD. IT WILL NOT LEAVE. IT WILL ENDANGER OTHER SPECIES. THIS PLANT IS SOMETHING OF A STONE COLD BI***..
Star-of Bethlehem is non-responsive to several herbicides. Research studies at Purdue University found that paraquat provided 70 to 78% control. –https://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/invasive_plants/weeds/star-of-bethlehem.pdf
No one wants to deal with what will happen when you release invasive species into an ecosystem. Do no be a part of that jerky nation. I WILL judge you, and you will not be able to share my corn bread.
I am not sure if I would share my cake either, since the petals of this flower are used to bake bread. No, I will not give you a recipe for that. Don’t roll your eyes at me, they might stay that way.
Some folks find that they enjoy nibbling on the bulbs that are fully cooked. I said fully cooked.
Let’s look at that again: FULLY COOKED.
Raw bulbs have nasty side effects such as … death. Ok, so there is stuff that happens before that degree. Toxicosis is not cute. That whole excessive drooling, violent vomiting, swollen lips, tongue, throat and skin irritation is a real bummer. Not to mention the fact that not being able to breathe is not in fashion on beautiful spring days, Darling. Curiously, though, people do take the plant for treatment of congestive heart failure, according to the folks over at WEbMD.
Seriously, this plant contains alkaloids and cardenolides which are not our friends. Your children, you, and your animals could suffer if they eat this plant. Such a pretty little poison.
But to be candid, that is a real possibility if you mess around with this plant. It is not a ramp, but folks do try to think it is just because it has a bulb.
(See, this is why we cannot have nice foraged things.)
Ok, healers, I did not forget you were reading along, fingers poised on your pestles. Simmer down a bit and watch this lovely little video on its potential. In a plant essence, it is used for the uplifting of the despondent and those in grief, shock, or recovering from an emotional upheaval. It can bring gladness. It sure did for the Crusaders when they had to dry and eat them in a bout of starvation. Even Rosemary Gladstar trusts the qualities of this uplifter. (Yes, I made that word up. So what.)
Now, let’s talk a bit of the ethereal thing called magick. If you have been paying attention, you know what the properties and fok thought is about what qualities this plant has as a healing agent for emotional upset. Perhaps a candle made with the flowers, or a powder made from the petals might be used. I do not recommend burning.
The real thing you need to remember is that it is primarily good at addressing trauma of the mind and heart. A healing poppet might be useful. Or perhaps a gentle wind and ribbon wind catcher with the stems woven in and enchanted. It is really up to you.
I would venture to say that perhaps this resilience is tied to the plants seemingly stubborn ability to not be removed or stamped out of existence. The spirit of defiance is strong in this one. May that spirit of defiant joy be with you as well.