Species Ornithogalum nannodes
Etymology of Ornithogalum:
Gk. ornithos = bird; gala = milk, presumably referring to the colostrum-like, high fat secretions produced by the Colombidae (‘pigeon’s milk’) and stored in the crop for feeding the young. Maybe this somewhat resembles the gooey sap that exudes from the cut stems. Some authors suggest that the name merely refers to the milky whiteness of some flowers, while ‘bird’s milk’ to the ancient Greeks was a colloquial expression for something wonderful.
Bulbous geophyte to 15 cm, with a neck. Leaves dry at flowering, suberect, filiform, tufted. Flowers usually corymbose, whitish with brown midribs. Oct.--Dec. Hard stony soil, NW, SW (Namaqualand and W Karoo to Stellenbosch).