Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem

©Philip Precey

Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem

©Philip Precey

Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem

Scientific name: Gagea lutea
The Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem is a woodland plant that lives up to its name - it displays starry, gold flowers in an umbrella-like cluster in early spring.

Species information

Statistics

Height: 8-25cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

March to April

About

As its name suggests, Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem is a golden-yellow, star-like flower that can be found growing in woodland on basic soils. Although it is rare, it can be very abundant where it does occur. It grows from a bulb, which waits dormant underground until spring. As it pokes up through the soil, it can easily be 'lost' to the eye among Lesser Celandine and other spring woodland plants.

How to identify

Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem displays between one and seven golden-yellow, six-petalled flowers that rise from a single stem in an umbrella-like cluster; they eventually fade to pale yellow. It has a single, blade-like leaf that rises from the base of the plant.

Distribution

Mainly found in Central and Southern England, and Central Scotland.

Did you know?

Systematic searching for this plant has lead to the discovery of many new colonies. Little is understood of the factors that control flowering, but dense colonies can persist for years without spreading or flowering.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for woodland plants.