Part 3: Early Spring Plants in Backyard Habitats

Ornithogalum umbellatum, common name Star-of-Bethlehem lily, is a member of the Lily family. It is a non-native that has become naturalized in some yards and gardens. The small white flowers close at twilight or during the darkness of a good thunderstorm. In my yard it has spread in clumps into both sunny and shady locations.

When I first noticed it, I did not observe it being visited by pollinators. Then one spring I observed a Nessus sphinx moth drinking from it as well as a Juvenal’s Duskywing. In Europe it is on some lists as a good plant for pollinators. When mowed it will not regrow and flower.

The flowers typically begin to appear in early March and will continue to bloom through April. Overall it is not an obnoxious little flower to have in our yard, and its favorability increased when I observed it serving as a food source. It is not a flower I’d add to a garden, but will tolerate if already naturalized.

Juvenal’s Duskywing
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