Cutflower Nomenclature

Scientific/Botanical Name

Genus: Ornothogalum

Specie: O dubium


English Name:


Common Name

Star of Bethlehem, Chincherinchee

Botanical Family

Name in Latin: Hyacinthaceae (sometimes classified in lily family)

Name in English: Hyacinthe

The Plant

Origin: South Africa

Growth Habit: Plant is a herbaceous perennial from a bulb, classed as a monocotyledon

Flower: Raceme cylindric to almost spherical with 5-25 flowers. Tepals ranging from orange, red, yellow or rarely white, often with a green or brown center.

Blooming Period: winter or spring.

Leaf: leaves mostly parallel veined.


It is mainly grown for cut flower and flowering pot-plant production.[ A beautiful, versatile flower adding line, mass, or accent to many types of arrangements.

Care and Handling

Lasting Quality: Up to 2 weeks in water alone

Amount of water: average

Nutrition: text

Special handling: • Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place into a fresh flower food solution or tap water containing bleach (6-8 drops per quart) as fresh flower foods are not necessary, buds continue to open in water alone. • Flower stem bending when placed horizontal (geotropism) is a problem with all members of this genus. Applying calcium chelators such as EDTA and/or using one of the anti-ethylene action products (MCP of STS) can reduce this bending. To the contrary, ethylene synthesis inhibitors such as AOA or AVG had no effect on bending. Oronithogalum is highly phototropic and blossoms will grow toward the light.  Store upright and avoid side light.

Special feature/remarks:

• From the Greek "ornis" (a bird) and "gala" (milk), probably alluding to the egg-like color of the flowers of some species.
• The specific epithet name dubium means doubtful or dubious. Maybe suggesting that should not be named in the same genus as star-of-Bethlehem because flowers are not really egg-white!