Cutflower Nomenclature

Scientific/Botanical Name

Genus: Ornithogalum

Specie: O. saundersii


English Name:

Cape Lily

Common Name

Star of Bethlehem

Botanical Family

Name in Latin: Asparagaceae

Name in English: Asparagus Family
Sub: Scilloideae- Hyacinth Family

The Plant

Origin: The species, O. saundersiae, was named after Mrs. Katharine Saunders (1824-1901), a well-known plant collector and artist. Native to Southern Europe and Southern Africa

Growth Habit: bulb, form a dark green , shiny, sword- shaped leaves. Easy to cultivate.

Flower: flat topped, many-flowers inflorescences, star shaped flowers are ivory or white with a pronounced black ovary in the centre.

Blooming Period: summer into fall

Leaf: grass like basal leaves,


excellent line, great texture in the flower, interesting bloom , distinct centres.

Care and Handling

Lasting Quality: very long lasting

Amount of water: moderate

Nutrition: preservative, food

Special handling:

Special feature/remarks:

Poisonous plant.
The origin of the genus name dates back to ancient Greek and means bird's milk. There are various opinions about the reason why this name was chosen, but the Romans used the term to indicate something wonderful. A Greek proverb also mentioned that rare things are as unobtainable as bird's milk. The common name of the genus, chincherinchee, refers to the sound made by the stiff, glossy flower stalks when they are rubbed together by the wind.