37. The Large Star of Bethlehem

The Large Star of Bethlehem (Maltese: halib it-tajr kbir) is a tall flowering plant, presently flowering in steppe areas and abandoned fields. It is unmistakable, with its showy bouquet of white flowers, each with six petals cupping a glossy black beady middle part. Growing as it often does in neglected areas that are frequently not particularly rich in flora, to find this tall delicate flower is almost always a pleasant surprise, and the urge to smell its fragrance is virtually automatic. Unfortunately this flower's stately beauty and fragrance often means that it gets gathered in large numbers. This is a widespread and destructive habit that is decimating the Large Star of Bethelem and other attractive flowering plants.

Text and photo by Victor Falzon.

Copyright by Birdlife Malta.

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