star-of-Bethlehem

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star-of-Bethlehem,

in botany, low, spring-blooming bulbous plant (Ornithogalum umbellatum) of the family Liliaceae (lilylily,
common name for the Liliaceae, a plant family numbering several thousand species of as many as 300 genera, widely distributed over the earth and particularly abundant in warm temperate and tropical regions.
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 family), native to the Mediterranean region but naturalized in North America and cultivated in gardens. The plant has rather stiff, grasslike leaves and a cluster of white star-shaped flowers marked on the back with green. It spreads easily and tends to become weedy. Although the fresh plant is poisonous, the bulbs have been prepared and used as food in the Old World. The flower has been associated with the star that guided the Wise Men to the manger (see Star of BethlehemStar of Bethlehem,
name given to the luminous celestial object rising in the sky that, as related in the Gospel of Matthew, led the Wise Men of the East to the manger in Bethlehem where Jesus was born.
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). The star-of-Bethlehem is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Liliaceae.