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Star of Bethlehem

Ipheion uniflorum

Star of Bethlehem is a perennial grassy weed that is also known as Spring Starflower or by its scientific name, Ipheion uniflorum. This lawn weed is poisonous and can smell like onions.

Identify

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Bulbous

Star of Bethlehem can be identified as a perennial grassy weed. Its leaves are flat, linear and somewhat fleshy, and the plant emits an onion-like odor when crushed. Flowering in early spring, Star of Bethlehem can be most easily identified by a solitary fragrant flower that is white to lavender in color. The seeds of this lawn weed are not visible, and reproduction is primarily by tubers. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Life Cycle

These lawn weeds prefer areas disturbed or developed by civilization and are often found in landscapes, pastures, hayfields and lawns. Star of Bethlehem’s range includes the southeastern United States, as well as parts of California and Oregon. These perennial grassy weeds can germinate and spread from seeds, but they also produce a root structure (tubers, bulbs or corms) that can birth new weeds from your lawn’s surface (using stolons) or from underground (using rhizomes). Perennial grassy weeds live two or more years and have a deeper root structure that can give rise to new weeds—even if you no longer see the weeds in your lawn.

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Control

Because Star of Bethlehem grows from bulbs that are reproduced each year, physical removal of the bulbs will get rid of this grassy weed over time.

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