Ornithogalum nutans L.

Ornithogalum nutans plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - From bulbs. Aerial stems to +40cm long (tall), erect, herbaceous, terete, green, glabrous, simple, single from the base.

Leaves - Mostly near the base of the plant and in a rosette, glabrous, flat but typically somewhat folded, green, to +45cm long, +1cm broad, linear and grass-like, succulent, with parallel veins.

Inflorescence - Terminal raceme. Pedicels to +1cm long in flower, glabrous, ascending in bud, nodding in flower. Each pedicel subtended by a scarious attenuate bract. Bracts brownish, glabrous, to -4cm long, 1cm broad at the base.

Flowers - Tepals 6, spreading. glabrous, +/-3cm long, +/-8mm broad, white with a green midstripe, acute, oblong-lanceolate, distinct. Stamens 6, erect, connivent around the style. Filaments compressed, white, to 1.5cm long, 3-4mm long. Some (3) of the filaments expanded beyond the anthers with two erect appendages. Anthers pale yellow to white, to +5mm long, 2mm broad. Ovary dark green, glabrous, ovoid, 3-ribbed, 5mm long in flower, 3mm in diameter, 3-locular, placentation axile, ovules many. Style white, 7-8mm long, glabrous, with 2 vertical grooves.

Ornithogalum nutans flowerFlower close-up.

Ornithogalum nutans sepalsAbaxial surface of tepals.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Cultivated and rarely escaped. Persistent around old homesites.

Origin - Native to Asia.

Other info. - This attractive species is commonly cultivated throughout Missouri and is rarely escaped. It is not nearly as common as the closely related O. umbellatum L. which is escaped nearly throughout the state.
The genus Ornithogalum is toxic and contains many alkaloids.

Photographs taken off College Ave., Columbia, MO., 4-11-04.


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