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Sternbergia lutea MILAN.jpg
Sternbergia lutea
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Sternbergia
Waldst. & Kit.

See article

Sternbergia is a genus in the family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Amaryllidoideae,[1] of around 8 species that show a broad distribution throughout Mediterranean Europe and Asia. It was first described by Clusius in 1601 as Narcissus, before being redescribed by Carl Linnaeus as Amaryllis in 1753. The plant referred to by both these descriptions is now recognised as being Sternbergia lutea, which was described by Franz von Waldstein and Pál Kitaibel in 1803, although their first validation of the name Sternbergia was applied to S. colchiciflora.

This genus contains a number of species of flowering bulbs which rather resemble Crocus. These plants produce golden-yellow goblet-shaped flowers borne on stalks some way above the ground that open during the autumn or early winter. The flower is composed of six stamens and a single style attached to an inferior ovary. Long, strap-like leaves may appear with the flowers or sometime after. The only two exceptions to this are S. vernalis and S. candida which flower in the spring, with S. candida producing striking white flowers.

The genus has gained notability due to the widespread use of S. lutea as a garden plant. This species has been found in cultivation for several hundred years, and has become naturalised in many parts of northern Europe, greatly extending its natural range.


As of September 2011, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognizes eight species:[2]

  • Sternbergia candida B.Mathew & T.Baytop
  • Sternbergia clusiana (Ker Gawl.) Ker Gawl. ex Spreng., including S. grandiflora Boiss. ex Baker, S. latifolia Boiss. & Hausskn. ex Baker, S. macrantha (J.Gay) J.Gay ex Baker, S. sparffiordiana Dinsm., S. stipitata Boiss. & Hausskn. in P.E.Boissier
  • Sternbergia colchiciflora Waldst. & Kit., including S. alexandrae Sosn., S. citrina (Herb.) Ker Gawl. ex Schult. & Schult.f. in J.J.Roemer & J.A.Schultes, S. etnensis (Raf.) Guss., S. exscapa Tineo in G.Gussone
  • Sternbergia lutea (L.) Ker Gawl. ex Spreng., including S. aurantiaca Dinsm. in G.E.Post, S. sicula Tineo ex Guss, S. greuteriana Kamari & R.Artelari
  • Sternbergia minoica Ravenna Autumn daffodil
  • Sternbergia pulchella Boiss. & Blanche in P.E.Boissier
  • Sternbergia schubertii Schenk
  • Sternbergia vernalis (Mill.) Gorer & J.H.Harvey, including S. fischeriana (Herb.) Roem.


  1. ^ Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards), Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Asparagales: Amaryllidoideae  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ WCSP (2011), World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2011-09-20 , search for "Sternbergia"


  • Gage, Ewan; Wilkin, Paul; Chase, Mark W. & Hawkins, Julie (2011). "Phylogenetic systematics of Sternbergia (Amaryllidaceae) based on plastid and ITS sequence data". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 166 (2): 149–162. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2011.01138.x.
  • Mathew, B. (1983). A Review of the Genus Sternbergia. The Plantsman 5: 1–16.
  • Mathew, B. (1984). Sternbergia. In: Davis, PH, ed., Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 8: 360–364. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
  • Pasche E, Kerndorff, H. (2002). Die Gattung Sternbergia Waldst. & Kit.(Asparagales, Amaryllidaceae) im Vergleich, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der wiederentdeckten Sternbergia schubertii Schenk. Stapfia 80: 395–417.

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