Star-of-Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum, is a bitter-sweet plant of spring time but not because of its taste. The plant is known to be poisonous causing nausea, vomiting, stomach and intestinal irritation, burning, dilated pupils, tremors, seizures, shortness of breath, swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, abnormal heart rate, cardiac arrest, and death.
This may have been the bulb written about in 2 Kings 6:25 of the Bible called “dove’s dung” that was valued as food during the great famine in Samaria. “And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.”
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!
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Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 369
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Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 52-53
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.
Hermine Dow says
Have you actually tried to eat the bulb? Is it only poisonous eaten raw?
No I haven’t tried the bulb. From what I’ve read the only people who have in the past were desperate because of the lack of food.