This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Ornithogalum Aureum. Golden Ornithogalum.
Cor. 6-petala, erecta, persistens, supra medium patens, Filamenta alterna basi dilatata.
ORNITHOGALUM aureum foliis ovato-lanceolatis, albomargmatis, floribus racemosis confertis, filamentis nectario emarginato infidentibus.
We have bestowed on this plant the name of aureum, from the colour of its blossoms, which are usually of a bright orange or gold colour; in some specimens we have observed them of a paler hue, and consequently less beautiful.
This highly ornamental species is of modern introduction, having been received by Mess. Lee and Kennedy, a few years since from the Cape, of which it is a native.
The root is a whitish bulb, resembling in size and shape that of the Lachenalia tricolor, figured on plate 82 of this work, from whence spring three or four smooth, somewhat fleshy, upright, dark-green leaves, about half an inch wide, and three or four inches long, edged with white, and, if magnified, appearing fringed with very fine hairs or villi; the stalk is naked, from eight to twelve inches high, supporting many flowers, which spring from the alae of large, hollow, pointed bracteae, and which opening one after another, keep the plant a considerable time in flower; according to Linnaeus's generic character, every other filament should be dilated at the base, in the present species each filament is so, or rather sits as it were on a white glandular nectary, emarginated on the inside, and highly deserving of notice.
In the greenhouse, where this plant has hitherto been kept, its blossoms come forth as early as January and February, and continue for several months; they will long display their beauty, if the stem be cut off and put in a phial of water.
It is propagated by offsets from its bulbs, and has the appearance of being a plant of kindly growth and easy management.