Diagnostic: An easily recognisable herb because of its rosette leaf arrangement. Its leaves are pinnately-lobed, the margins are lined with teeth, and they lack a petiole. The mid-vein is also very prominent. The white flowers have a long stalk and are five-petalled. It prefers shady areas.
Interesting Facts: One has to be careful handling this plant as it contains a poisonous white sap (lobelanidine) that can cause irritation on contact. It also may even cause blindness if it gets onto the eye, and give a burning sensation when ingested (FloraFaunaWeb, 2010).
The Star of Bethlehem is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, and likely as a result, also naturalised in many tropical and subtropical countries (eFloras, 2008).
|A patch of lawn covered by Hippobroma longiflora in the National University of Singapore.|
|Pinnately-lobed leaves are lined with teeth.|
|Side view showing its short stem.||Flower resembles a star; hence the common name, Star of Bethlehem.|
eFloras. (2008) Hippobroma longiflora (Linnaeus) G. Don, Gen. Flora of China. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge. http://www.efloras.org/. Accessed on 19-Jan-2013.
FloraFaunaWeb. (2010) Laurentia longiflora. National Parks Board, Singapore. https://florafaunaweb.nparks.gov.sg/Special-Pages/plant-detail.aspx?id=2188#. Accessed on 19-Jan-2013.
|Posted on 19-Jan-2013 / Last Updated on 11-Jan-2015|