Ornithogalum umbellatum – Famine Foods

Ornithogalum umbellatum


Middle East: a famine food cited in the Hebrew Old Testament (II Kings 6:25). The bulbs were ground up after numerous boilings, to eliminate the poisonous principles, then mixed with cereal flour to make bread. A pint of these bulbs sold for about $3.00, during a severe Samarian famine. England: bulb eaten during the famine of 1316. Vernacular name – Star of Bethlehem, Dove’s Dung. NB this use is, in part, based on an interpretation of ambiguous references to imputed substances eaten during the siege of Samaria, documented in the Hebraic Old Testament.

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