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Ornithogalum



Ornithogalum longibracteatum


     The genus Ornithogalum contains about a hundred flowering perennial bulbs but the only one popular with succulent collectors is Ornithogalum longibracteatum, the "Pregnant Onion", from South Africa. The Pregnant Onion is interesting in that the bulb grows above ground, reaching a diameter of 4 inches. It's strap like leaves can be to up 4 feet long and in time it will fill a pot with offsets. In spring or summer mature plants will put out a tall flower spike covered in hundreds of tiny white flowers with a green central stripe.
     Ornithogalums are easy to grow in any well draining mix and appreciate regular water. the bulb will shrivel to signal you it needs water. Like an onion, the outer layers dry up as the plant grows. It's beneficial to the appearance of the plant to pull these layers off occasionally to expose the brigth green shiny growth underneath. Occassionally in doing so you can often find offsets have formed between the layers. These can be pulled off and rooted seperately.

All images and text are copyright 2005 to present, D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.