Star of Bethlehem
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Star of Bethlehem
ntroducedPhoto: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Star of Bethlehem, Madam Fate, Star Flower
Botanical name: Hippobroma longiflora    Family: Campanulaceae (Bell flower family)
Synonyms: Lobelia longiflora, Isotoma longiflora, Laurentia longiflora

Star of Bethlehem, a native of the West Indies, is a perennial herb with poisonous milky sap. The botanical name Hippobroma means horse madness, referring to the poison which drives horses mad. The plants will reach 2 feet in containers and are very showy when in bloom. It is a herb which forms a rosette of narrow lanceolate leaves that are thick, pubescentes and coarsely pinnatilobed. White flowers come on 2 cm pubescent stalks. Sepals are about 3 cm long. Flower tube is usually 8-11 cm long, plus the 2-2.5 cm long petals. That explains the other part of its botanical name longiflora, meaning long flowers.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke Photographed in Maharashtra.

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