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 Nutans. Neapolitan Star Of Bethlehem
Cor. 6 petala, erecta, persistens, supra medium patens, Filamenta alterna basi dilatata.
ORNITHOGALUM nutans floribus secundis pendulis, nectario stamineo campaniformi. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 328. Ait. Kew. v. i. p. 443.
ORNITHOGALUM exoticum magno flore minori innato. Bauh. Pin. p. 70.
ORNITHOGALUM Neopolitanum, the Starre-flower of Naples. Park. Parad. p. 138. p. 137. f. 8. Clus. app. alt. p. 9. fig. 7.
Authors have given to this species of Ornithogalum the name of Neapolitan, following Clusius by whom the plant is figured and described, and who so called it, merely on receiving it from Naples; it may perhaps be doubted whether it be originally a native of Italy. Prof. Jacquin has figured it in his Flora Austriaca, the plant being common about Vienna, in garden-walks, under hedges, and in meadows, he does not however, from that circumstance, regard it as an original native there. Casp. Bauhin informs us that Honorius Belli sent it him from Crete under the name of Phalangium, leaving its true habitat to be settled more precisely hereafter, we shall observe, that it is one of those plants which soon accommodate themselves to any country; producing a numerous progeny both from roots and seeds, and by no means nice as to soil or situation; it is not long before it becomes a weed in the garden, from whence it is apt like the Hyacinthus racemosus, already figured, to pass into the field or meadow.
Its flowers, which if not beautiful are singular and delicate, make their appearance towards the end of April, they are of no long duration, seldom continuing above a fortnight, and are succeeded by seed-vessels which produce abundance of ripe seed, by which, as well as by its bulbs, the plant may be increased.
In the Hortus Kewensis it is set down as a Greenhouse plant, one of the rare errors which occur in that most useful work.