Star of Bethlehem Flower Meaning and Symbolism of Each Color and Uses

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The Star of Bethlehem flowers are not what you think they are. In fact, it is actually a flower heaven sent on the night of the Savior’s birth. These star shaped flowers are flower bulbs that have broad band arching leaves and a dark green color has white line on the underside while light green streaks are found under each petal of the flower.

Aside from its unique name, this flower has quite a bit of meaning and symbolism behind each of its floral colors. Star of Bethlehem colors include white, yellow, orange, and red. The white and red flower means innocence and strength while an orange and yellow flower represents bravery and youthfulness.

History of the Star of Bethlehem Flora

The common name Star of Bethlehem known by the scientific name as Ornithogalum umbellatum was first described in 1573 as a white star-shaped flower. The genus Ornithogalum comes from the Greek words. The first Greek word ornis means bird and gala means milk – that is why this flower is also called the bird’s milk flower. 

It is a bulbous perennial grass like plant native to many areas in the Mediterranean region from the Asparagaceae family although it is sometimes mistaken as part of the Lily family. These flowering plants have distinct similarities to that of the crocus which are native to the Mediterranean and are in fact closely related to the wild onion and wild garlic. How cool is that?

Star of Bethlehem flowers bloom during the early summer to late spring wherein the spike bears the flowers. Flowers open with white petals and light green centers. The plant is actually a winter bulb that has multiple leaf bearing bulbils but surprisingly only a single pistil. The bulbils eventually separate into more leaves after some time. The best blooms can be seen for several weeks starting from May to June. It is best to grow these flowers in well draining soil with semi-solid to full shade.

Here are some interesting facts about the Star of Bethlehem. It blooms during summer to spring in well drained soil and adequate sunlight. In fact, the flower bulbs – referred to as the nap-at-noon or eleven-o’clock lady can self fertilize themselves because of its all female parts! So no need to worry about fertilization at all. 

Symbolism of the Star of Bethlehem Blossom

Ornithogalum umbellatum and its other relative species are chosen symbols of the epiphany during the month after Christmas. Over the Holidays, the Star of Bethlehem flowers symbolize the celebration of the birth of Christ and are ornamented in garlands or wreath arrangements

Popular Christian belief also signifies this flower as the motif of Christ with the six points comprising a double triangle. This double triangle in return symbolizes the elements of fire and water.

Would you believe me if you were told that these flowers are also called the 11-o’clock-lady? You read that right! The flowers are also called such a name because of the time they bloom. It blossoms not earlier or later than 11am during May until June. While in simultaneous bloom, these flowers appear like a bed of stars on a carpet of crisp grass. 

Other symbolisms associated with the Star of Bethlehems include purity, positive energy, and better times ahead. 

Meaning of the Star of Bethlehem Bloom

The Star of Bethlehem is one floral plant to hold very godly and holy meanings. In the modern-day language of flowers, the etymological meaning behind the Star of Bethlehem’s wispy flowers includes chances of hope, atonement, and reconciliation. 

Purity and idleness are also associated with this beautiful flower for their subtle colors and humble beauty.

What Does a White Star of Bethlehem Flower Mean?

A white flower of the Ornithogalum plant genus implies the symbolism of innocence, honesty, and forgiveness. These white flowers are best associated with women of pure hearts. 

What Does an Orange Star of Bethlehem Blossom Symbolize?

Orange Ornithogalum floras species embody the spirit of one who is struggling against dark forces. It signifies bravery and courage. 

What Does a Red Star of Bethlehem Bloom Represent?

The Star of Bethlehem with flamboyant red-petalled flowers depicts the struggle of one for freedom and liberty. It denotes one’s bold strength and determination. 

What Does a Yellow Star of Bethlehem Flower Mean?

A yellow Star of Bethlehem is associated with bright and cheery meanings. This flower stands for youthfulness, pride, and all the fun in celebrations!

What is the Spiritual Significance of the Star of Bethlehem Flora?

Strangely enough, Christian symbolism and Linnaeus refer to this flower as the dove’s dung believed to have fallen from the sky.

Amidst this odd name, biblical tales say that these flowers rained down unto the meadow of the shepherds during the birth night of Jesus Christ surrounded by the three wise men. It is known as the morning star of Jesus and was sent from the heavens as a symbol of guidance and promise. 

The story goes on to say that the flower is a descendant of the star that appeared in the East to guide the three Kings on the Holy Night. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, the guiding star burst into a bright light disappearing into the night. God thought this was a waste of the star’s beauty so He rained the star down as the flowers in the shepherd’s meadows – the star’s purpose is to guide and turn into a beautiful remembrance during the time Mary gave birth to Christ. God created such a beautiful sight that many religious ceremonies never miss to have the Star of Bethlehem flowers in arrangements. 

Some Christian ceremonies that have the Star of Bethlehem flowers include the Epiphany on January 6th and the wreaths during Advent season. The star fulfilled its purpose each Christmas season to remind those of the coming of Christ.

white star of bethlehem

What Does a Star of Bethlehem Floral Tattoo Mean?

Christians and Catholics typically choose this floral tattoo design for two reasons. The first reason being an embodiment of guidance through the day-to-day adventure and obstacles of life. The second reason being a beacon of hope that the time will come again to ask for forgiveness and strive for peace.

Uses of the Star of Bethlehem Flowers

Like many ornamental flowers, the Star of Bethlehem blossoms make the perfect flower in flower gardens and container gardening. Addition to that, these flowers with its grass like foliage make it an amazing cut flower in a flower arrangement. It’s most especially arranged in bouquets and decors during wedding ceremonies to symbolize hope in life.

The flowers are ornamental but it also has some medicinal properties. According to folkloric medicine, extracts of this flower can improve heart function, reduce high blood pressure, battle against intestinal parasites, and aid in lung congestion. Some call this the yellow dry gold flower because of its medicinal wonders. But apart from its healing effects, it also has some dangers to it.

Generally speaking, the Star of Bethlehem flowers are poisonous in nature because of the toxic alkaloids it contains. Research on the medicinal use of the plant and its parts for extract in treating heart failure is underway and still in the works.

Interestingly, a white species of this plant found in the plains of Syria and Palestine are deemed edible. The plant’s bulb is used as food and can be cooked by boiling. Although it may be edible, do not let your furry friends or other animals take a sample bite of this as it may be toxic for them!

For safety reasons, it is best that this plant be only used for horticultural purposes such as garden ornaments or decorations.

*image credit: SaraTM/depositphotos

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