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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.
Type species
Sternbergia colchiciflora

Oporanthus Herb.

Sternbergia is a genus of Eurasian and North African plants in the Amaryllis family, subfamily Amaryllidoideae.[3][4]

The genus comprises eight recognised species that show a broad distribution throughout the Mediterranean Basin as well as central and southwestern Asia.[5][6][7][8][9]

The six stamens and style of Sternbergia lutea

Sternbergia 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 one of its species, 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, well beyond its natural range.

Sternbergia lutea was first described in 1601 by Clusius, who included the plants in the genus Narcissus.[10] Carl Linnaeus in 1753 regarded them as part of Amaryllis.[11] It was not until 1825 that the species was transferred to Sternbergia,[12] using the generic name coined in 1804.[3] The genus was named in honor of Count Kaspar von Sternberg.


As of April 2015, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognizes eight species:[2]

formerly included[2]

Three names have been coined using the name Sternbergia but referring to species now considered better suited to other genera (Colchicum, Narcissus and Zephyranthes). We provide links to help you find appropriate information.


  1. ^ Tropicos, Sternbergia Waldst. & Kit.
  2. ^ a b c WCSP (2011), World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2015-04-07, search for "Sternbergia"
  3. ^ a b Waldstein, Franz de Paula Adam von & Kitaibel, Pál. 1804. Descriptiones et Icones Plantarum Rariorum Hungariae 2: 172
  4. ^ Stevens, P.F., Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Asparagales: Amaryllidoideae
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Mathew, B. (1983). A Review of the Genus Sternbergia. The Plantsman 5: 1–16.
  7. ^ Mathew, B. (1984). Sternbergia. In: Davis, PH, ed., Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 8: 360–364. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Atervista Flora Italiana, genere Sternbergia
  10. ^ Carolus Clusius. 1601. Rariarum plantarum historia
  11. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Amaryllis. Species Plantarum 1:292-294 in Latin
  12. ^ Ker Gawler, John Bellenden ex Sprengel, Curt Polycarp Joachim. 1825. Systema Vegetabilium, editio decima sexta 2: 57 in Latin

External links[edit]